Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cooking and Packing

Tuesday night I attended the first meeting of the London Modern Quilt Guild held in downtown London.  There were 14 of us there, I think.  It was a planning meeting to get the guild started.  We discussed meeting times etc. but also our expectations of what a "Modern" quilt guild should be.  What I'm hoping for is a guild that is supportive of experimental techniques and approaches to design.  Because of my job, I spend a great deal of time at various guilds throughout the country.  I'm looking for something different than the same old business meeting and show and share guild.  Hopefully this will be it.  My dream would be to have a guild that is not a quilting guild but at CREATIVITY guild where artists of all mediums come together.  You could have potters, painters, photographers, quilters, poets etc. etc. all come together.  The challenges presented to the group would be interesting as each artist would interpret the same theme and perhaps partner with another artist in a completely different media.........hmmmmm

I'm very excited as I'm packing today to teach at the Simcoe County Quilters Guild Retreat this weekend.  This will be my third time teaching at their retreat so it will be fun to catch up with past students and friends.  I'll be teaching the Log Cabin Chevron workshop and the Quilt Marking Mysteries workshop.  Two of my favourites!  The retreat is held at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre near Barrie where all of the Georgian College students who are in the culinary and hotel management studies work as part of their curriculum.  Needless to say, the food and services are fantastic!

Last night I made one of my favourite meals, Thai Mango Salad.  It is absolutely delicious!  The recipe will feed 6 people.


5 cups cooked rice vermicelli noodles.
2 cups napa cabbage cut into thin strips about 2" long
1 red pepper cut into fine julienne strips
1 yellow pepper cut as above
1 large carrot cut as above
2 ripe mangos cut into thin slices
3 green onions cut diagonally
3 lime leaves thinly sliced or lime zest
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp. lemongrass chopped very fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup roasted chopped peanuts
lemon juice


1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 limes, juice of 2 and zest of 1
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peanut oil

In a food processor, combine all of the salad dressing ingredients and process until smooth.  Toss together with the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Just before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with peanuts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Everyone!

Happy Easter to all of you.  I will be cooking a ham dinner for the family tonight.  I'm making my famous potatoes to go with the ham so if I remember to photograph it, I'll share the recipe with you later.

Yesterday we went to the Western Fair Farmers Market to deliver the cat beds and pick up some produce etc. from the market.  The place was packed!  If you get the chance to go, be sure to get some cheese from the cheese guy.  He really carries some of the best cheeses around.  Also you don't want to miss the apple fritters.

We picked Mom up from the nursing home for a drive and stopped at the General Store for ice cream.   Our first outside ice cream cone of the season!!  Yes, it has finally stopped snowing here in Southwestern Ontario!

Feeling energized.......I have been finishing up all of my charity sewing so I can get back to the serious stuff!  Five cat tote bags made from cat feed bags are done along with two more quilted things (not sure what they'll be used for).  These are made from blocks I was demonstrating in a Buggy Barn class to make their dog quilt.  These will go to Animal Outreach.  Next I finished all of the place mats for the Oxford Quilters' Guild donation to the Studio Tour this Fall.  Everyone who buys a ticket for the tour gets lunch and then keeps their place mat.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cat Beds

A BIG thank you to all of the Oxford Quilters Guild members who responded so generously to my request for donations of cat fabrics and polar fleece.  I finished 16 cat beds for Animal Outreach London that will be delivered tomorrow to their booth at the Western Fair Farmers Market.

Here are just some of the finished cat beds.  The picture is a bit on the yellow side but you get the idea.  The cat beds are slightly different sizes depending on the size of fabrics that I had.  They are simply a piece of cotton backed with a piece of polar fleece.  They are sewn pillowcase fashion and then top stitched.  Cats just love these!  If you have a cat you'll know how the gravitate to anything quilt-like!

I had a great day yesterday at Quilts and Calicos teaching the No Fail Binding and Rotary Cutting Magic workshops.  Thanks to all of the students who made it such an enjoyable day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Fireside Log Cabin

Today I'm just finishing sewing down the binding on another Fireside Log Cabin quilt.  This is one of my favourite of the scrap quilts that I teach.  The best part is how much of your stash can be substantially reduced by this quilt!  There are some VERY OLD fabrics in this one.  Pick a palette and start cutting!  This is a quilt that I'll be teaching in Halifax next year so I thought the water palette would be appropriate for the East Coast.

Below is my original version of this quilt so you can see that just by adjusting the palette, you get a completely different feel.  On my "to do" list is a red and yellow version.......we'll see if I manage to get to it before I have to teach it!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Will this ever stop?  Good thing I have a studio day today so I'll be cozy inside working on some projects and getting things ready for my upcoming workshops.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Can You Believe It????

So.......the date is April 17th...........AND IT'S SNOWING!!!!  Look, I've got proof!
See those white streaks?  That's snow coming down.  I just thought I'd share that with all of you who are busy planting their gardens and sitting on their decks.
On the up makes it good weather for quilting.
I finished up a few of these place mats from the newest issue of McCall's Quilting  - May/June issue.  They were so cute I just couldn't resist making some.  I have some friends that are crazy about golf that would just love these.  Not exactly serious quilting but you need to do the fun stuff every now and again.
The best part is that all of the fabric, thread and batting helped to clear out my stash a bit more.  Almost free, wouldn't you say?  If you're looking for a gift for some golfers, these were fun to make but they did take quite a bit more time that I would have thought.  I painted the numbers on the flags.

On Thursday the 21st I'm teaching my No Fail Binding workshop and my Rotary Cutting Magic workshop at Quilts and Calicos in Exeter.  No more lumpy joins in the binding!  When I'm judging, most people lose marks for their binding so be sure to take a lesson if you're entering quilts to be judged.  There are a couple of spots in both workshops still open.

I have some students interested in taking the Log Cabin Chevron workshop at my home studio.  Drop me an email it that's something you might be interested in as well and we'll try to find a Saturday for this workshop.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lindsay Creative Quilters Guild

I returned yesterday afternoon from Lindsay where I was giving my Trunk Show lecture and presenting the workshop on the Cobblestones quilt.
Lindsay is a beautiful area of rolling hills and lovely farmland.  The town itself seemed quite prosperous with very interesting independently owned shops.
The guild has their meetings in a lovely church downtown.  Thanks to all the guild members who were so attentive during the lecture and were kind enough to take the time to speak with me afterwards.  A special thanks to those who helped fold the quilts with me.  With THREE hockey bags of quilts it takes quite awhile to pack everything back up again!
Here they are showing just how friendly the Lindsay quilters are!  This picture was taken from the stage where I was presenting my lecture.  It's a bit blurry but that's my fault.......the quilters aren't really blurry.

The next day was the workshop held in one of the many other rooms in the church.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any more pictures so I'll just show you a picture of the Cobblestones quilt sample that I made.  The purpose of this workshop is to teach many of the speed cutting and piecing techniques that I've developed over the years.  The quilt is just a happy by-product of those lessons.
There is a brand new quilt shop in town called Appleseed Quiltworks at 19 William St. N.  It has a fantastic inventory of fresh, modern fabrics that I just couldn't resist.  The shop is beautifully laid out and the staff very friendly.  I just tested their website link but it looks like it's not up yet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Workshop with Dwayne F. Wanner

Wow!  The Oxford Quilters Guild had Dwayne F. Wanner come and teach a two day workshop on "The Abstract Expressionist Quilt".  We had an amazing two days with Dwayne.  He a is knowledgable and inspirational teacher.  If you get the chance to take this it!
There is quite a daunting supply list and homework assignment before the workshop but it was worth the effort.  The quilts in the workshop were really lovely and all had their own identity.  As soon as I can figure out how to get the photos from my ipad2 to my blog I'll show the student quilts to you.  Mine has a little more work to be done but I was impressed with how far we got in the two days.
Here are some photos of Dwayne's quilts but be sure to go to his website for more.

Way too early tomorrow morning I'm heading out to visit with the Lindsay Creative Quilters.  I'll be presenting my trunk show lecture then the Cobblestones workshop the following day.  I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.  Cobblestones is one of my favourite workshops to teach so we all should have a lot of fun and a lot of learning.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tote Bag Tutorials

I saw this information on How About Orange blog and thought you might like to check it out too!People with lots of stuff to carry might benefit from some tote bag sewing instructions. Lucky for us, nice people of the internet have come through. A few tutorials:
Mini tote by Hollabee
Pleated beach bag at Thimble
Organizing tote basket by 2 Little Hooligans
Market tote at Bijou Lovely

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guild Day!

It was great to be back at my home guild today.  The program was on the members' sewing rooms/studios. Members of the guild had photographed their work spaces and sent them in to be put together into a presentation.  It's amazing the different spaces that people work in!  One member works in what is basically a closet while some have had rooms purpose-built as studios that are amazing...........complete with fireplaces and easy chairs!!!  I have a very nice space too but WOW!!!
I'm also thinking that my stash really can't compare with some other members..........hmmm......maybe I should go shopping?
Ikea and Rubbermaid have been kept in business by quilters, I think.  Others were very good at repurposing items such as doors and kitchen counters for their work rooms.  Lighting seems to be the most challenging for rooms that weren't purpose built.  I know that that's the one thing I would change in my studio.  The older I get the dimmer the lights are!
I took some really terrible pictures at guild today.  Sorry, but I thought you might like to see them anyway.

Here is Terry's quilt from my "Quilts on the Wild Side" workshop a couple of years ago.  Terry is in finishing mode to get rid of some U.F.O.'s.  Great job, Terry!

This is a picture of Maureen's back.  Good, eh?
It's supposed to be a picture of Jean's hexagon quilt.  It was lovely made of batiks blending from one colour family to another.  It was one of those quilts that just makes you want to rush back to your sewing room.

I haven't even turned on my machine since getting home but hope to have some sewing time tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Back!

My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful 10 day cruise with Holland America to the Panama Canal.  We had such a good time!  Of course, the food was amazing but we really enjoyed just getting away, the sunshine and reading on our balcony.  Here are a few photos of our trip.

Hubby in front of our ship in Curacao.

Beautiful Curacao!  We walked over the swinging bridge into the old town.  Everywhere was clean and well kept.  If you ever get the chance to visit there, I would highly recommend it.
The ship also stopped in Aruba but I would recommend that you take an excursion to one of the beaches because the port town had very little to offer.

Here our ship is preparing to enter the first lock of the Panama Canal.  The day before we had attended a lecture on the ship explaining the history of the canal.  Everyone was up at 5:30 to watch the entire passage.  We crossed through 3 locks to the lake then returned later that afternoon.  The crew made a party of it and served coffee and special "Panama Rolls" on the viewing decks.
You can see the train tracks where the "mules" or trains run that are attached to the ships by lines.  Their job is to keep the ship centred in the canal but the ship uses it's own propulsion.

Our next stop was Costa Rica to visit the rain forests.  We took a canal tour and also a tour of a banana plantation.  We saw a great deal of wildlife along the canal including monkeys and sloths.

So far I have been answering emails and mail as well as unpacking etc. etc.  Not any sewing yet so you'll have to be patient while I get "back in the groove".