Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone.  I hope that you are enjoying the day with family and friends.
Our two children are home and we will be picking up my Mother soon from the nursing home so that we can all be together for Christmas dinner.
We took our two children up to see the new house today.  The builder says that the house will be complete by the end of February.  That's 6 weeks earlier than we had anticipated but we will be happy to have a "controlled" move.

Merry Christmas!

Image 27 of 35

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bee Challenge

Hello everyone!  Sorry for the long pause in posting but Hubby and I took an amazing cruise vacation in Europe and have just returned.  I'll post some photos as soon as I get organized but in the meantime, I thought you might like to see the results of the "Star" challenge with my bee in Nova Scotia.
The requirements were to make a 12" square quilt with the theme of "Star".
This is our 4th challenge, I think.
Our next challenge is the theme "Winter".


Sunday, November 25, 2012

One of a Kind Show etc.

Another busy week has flown by!  With Christmas fast approaching it seems that time moves even faster.  It's hard to believe that Christmas is only one short month away.

This week I taught the Irish Courthouses workshop at my home studio.  We had a great day learning to choose fabrics and values to make the design work.  This quilt has LOTS of sewing to it but really is worth the work for such a beautiful quilt in the end.

Thursday I went to Toronto for my annual trek with my friend to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto.  we spoil ourselves and take the Via 1 train.  That way we get breakfast going and supper returning.  It was a really good show this year.  There were many new vendors with some really wonderful, creative products.  Of course, some of our old favourites were there too.  A few of the booths were looking out of date so we wondered why they didn't change their approach but for the most part we were very happy that we took a day to go.  It was opening day for the show on Thursday but we found that the crowds were about the same as previous years.

Not a great picture but you can see that it wasn't overly crowded at this point.  The number of strollers and rolling shopping bags made getting around a bit of a challenge at times.  Some of our favourite products this year were screen printed linens.  The original designed clothing was also something we enjoyed this year.  There seemed to be designs that would suit all age groups and body types this year.

My Angel got a little more done this week.....

The wing on the right is complete.  The wing on the left just has the foundation down.

Hubby and I just got back from checking on the house.  The duct work is almost complete.  Most of the electrical is in.  The gas is in and the central vac is being worked on.  The most exciting of all is the stone is done on the house.  Those masons must have worked very hard to get it all done before this cold weather set in.  We are thrilled with the results!

The siding will go on next week and the work inside will continue.  We are so impressed with our builder, Rod Nicholson of Nicholson Homes.  Everything has gone so quickly and smoothly so far.  I'm sure we'll hit a bump at some point but he has been wonderful to work with and he seems to have chosen great people in the sub trades.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Whew! That was a busy season!

I've been a few places since my last blog entry.  Trunk shows and workshops all over the place!
Here's a photo of the lovely quilters of the quilters in the Mount Forest quilt guild.
I was in Mount Forest to teach two days of the Colour for Quilters workshop and to present my Trunk Show lecture.  They were a great audience for the lecture.  The workshops went very well except for some reason they started to pack up the tables and chairs while I was still teaching.  We had a half hour of workshop time left but it sure came to an abrupt end when the tables were being folded up.  I'm still not sure what happened there but they missed out on the final exercise of the workshop.  The upside is that I got home a little earlier.
Special thanks to Mac and Shirley for having me stay in their lovely home.  I enjoyed my time with you.

Teaching is winding down.  I have one more workshop on Tuesday then I'm done with teaching until January.  Studio work will be the priority for the next while as I get ready for another busy quilt season after Christmas.

The house is coming along very quickly.  I've made more decisions in the last couple of months than I have in the past 10 years, I think.  "Which way do you want your doors to swing open?", "What end do you want the drain and taps in the bathtub?"  etc. etc.  Things I've never really thought about.
This week we have a roof and windows!  The three windows you see in the basement belong to my studio.  We have had our meeting with the electrician for lighting.  That studio is going to be so well lit that it's going to look like high noon even if I'm working in the middle of the night.  For the past 20 years I've been working with old lamps that I've moved from place to place so this is going to be a real improvement.  Daylight florescent bulbs all over the ceiling!!!  I might have to wear sunglasses to work.
I've ordered two custom sewing tables and a cutting table from Adam Eddy of www.Eddycrest.com.

My poor Angel quilt has been neglected with all the teaching and travelling.  Here is my progress so far.  Trying to get the curled hair to the right side of her neck was tricky.  I have a little more work to get that looking good but I'll wait until the head is complete.  The wings will be done next.

Hopefully, you are getting more studio time that I am.  Loblaws was playing Christmas carols this week........oh my!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workshop

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, November 2, 2012

Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre Celebration

Just a quick reminder that there will be a 40th Anniversary Open House at the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre tomorrow and Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00.  I'll be there Saturday demonstrating machine piecing so drop by and say "hello".

Here's a brief history of the Creative Arts Centre.  I have been a member of the Oxford Quilters Guild that is a part of the CAC since 1988.  It's a wonderful facility so come out and have a look!

History of Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre

Ingersoll Creative Arts CentreThe Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre (ICAC) was started in 1972 by a small group of people who saw the need for artistic growth in the community. In the past 40 years we have grown into a unique organization with a membership of over 400 individuals, families and students, who actively participate in the multi-disciplined programs and exhibitions offered by the ICAC.
This 4500 square foot Centre includes a Fibre Arts Room, fully equipped Pottery Studio, Painting Studio, Exhibitions Gallery, and Gift Shop.
The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre was established to provide the opportunity for creative expression and development of the people of this community. Under the instruction of highly qualified teachers and in an open, creative setting, people of all ages and economic levels have found a friendly, nourishing environment in which to explore this aspect of their “being”. For many this has provided a very satisfying leisure outlet and for a significant number, this has been a “launching pad” for exhibitions, awards and recognitions. It has helped many artists learn about and develop some expertise in operating a small business.
Mandate:  To provide the opportunity for creative expression and development for those of all ages in Ingersoll and its environs.  Our aim is to offer a creative setting in a friendly, nourishing environment, and to be financially accessible so that no one is excluded.
Mission Statement:  To promote creative activity in the local community and surrounding area by providing programs, workshops, class instruction, and special events in all art forms and for all ages and tastes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back from Fort McMurray

What a great visit I had with the quilters of Fort McMurray, Alberta at Suzy Q's Quilt Shop.  Those quilters are such busy people that I'm always amazed that they manage to squeeze quilting into their lives.
I took the flight from Toronto to Fort Mac that starts in St. John's, NL.  The Newfoundlanders often work 2 weeks in Fort Mac - 14 days of 12 hour shifts - then they commute back home for 2 weeks.  What a life!
The day before I left was a sunny 23C and when I arrived it was -9C with lots of snow.
Here's a picture of Sue's deck.  It snowed the entire time I was there.  I was smart enough to bring my ski jacket but not quite smart enough to bring boots.......
It was such a pleasure to have some repeat students in my workshops from previous years.
Here they are hard at work in Sunday's  Double Diamond workshop.  There's a bit of a learning curve with this quilt.  I'm very proud of all of the students as they conquered this technique and made some beautiful blocks.
On Friday night I shared the Tips and Tricks for Quilters lecture.   On Saturday we did the Antique Spider Web quilt workshop and on Saturday night we did the No Fail Binding workshop.

Binding is the number one error I see on quilts.  The way the quilt is bound will effect not only the look  of the quilt,  but how straight it hangs and the lifespan of the quilt.  Take a class!!!  There's a lot more to it than just slapping on the binding.

The flight home was an interesting one.  I left Fort Mac with snow and wind only to hit Ontario with the Hurricane Sandy making turbulence for a very bumpy ride.  I got home a couple of hours later than scheduled but I was just happy to make it there.  My luggage was soaked through with all of the pouring rain.  The quilts were fine and just needed to dry out a bit.  Another good reason to wash your fabrics before making the quilt.

Hubby and I went up to the new house today.  It was so exciting to see the walls and roof trusses on.
We had a tree fall down in the storm.  Can you see it?  It missed the house, the builders trailer and other trees.  Talk about luck!!
I've been too busy to work much on the Angel Quilt so I won't bother with a picture this week.
Next week I'm visiting with two groups of quilters.  Packing, packing and more packing!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life is Busy in Quilt Season!

Once again, I'm sadly neglecting my blog.
Last week found me in North Bay with the lovely quilters of the Near North Quilters Guild and many visitors from the surrounding areas.
The guild invited me to present three lectures on my first day there.  That is the first time that I've done three lectures back to back.  Most of the people in the audience stayed for all three lectures.  They were a wonderful audience and asked really good questions.  By the third lecture it was more of a conversation than a lecture which was just so much fun.
The next day we did the Log Cabin Chevron workshop.  We spent a great deal of time working with fabric values in colour families.  The variety of fabric in the room was truly amazing.  Good shoppers!
My "close personal friend" drove all the way from Sudbury to take the workshop.  It was wonderful to spend the day with her.  (She's the one wearing black.)  She and I along with two other crazy quilters went on an epic road trip a couple of years ago visiting 17 quilt shops in 4 days.
Mallory and Deanne took all three workshops and ended up being my favourites........there's a story there that includes bribing the teacher with chocolate.
Day two we had the Angles and Squares workshop with 21 students in attendance.  It was a very busy day for everyone learning about the 4 recipes for scrap quilts as well as technique and many time saving tips.

On the final day I taught the Cobblestones quilt.  What a great bunch of quilters!
Unfortunately, I have a reminder of my visit to North Bay in the form of this:

Yes, I got rear ended by a young lady who wasn't paying attention.  I was stopped behind two other vehicles at a red light and she drove right into the back of my car.  Luckily, I had left some distance between my car and the truck ahead of me so I wasn't pushed into that vehicle.  So.....I now know what the North Bay police station looks like!  Her car was much more damaged than mine so I was able to drive home with no trouble.  With all the time I spend travelling, it's amazing that it hasn't happened sooner.  The poor girl cried from the minute she got out of the car and was still crying as we drove away from the police reporting centre.

Other than that, it was a fantastic visit with the quilters of North Bay.  Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it all happen.  The soups at lunch were delicious!  Special thanks to Gord and Wendy who allowed me to stay with them for six nights.  It was a pleasure getting to know you all!

Work on the angel quilt has been at a stand still with all my travelling, teaching and packing.  Here's the progress this week.

Work on the new house continues at a rapid rate.  I was able to visit the work site on Monday morning as they were just constructing the framing for the main floor.  The basement rooms are all framed in.
Tuesday I spent making final choices for all the flooring.
I'll be leaving before dawn tomorrow morning to head up to Fort McMurray, Alberta to teach some workshops and share some lectures.  My annual visit!  I can't wait to catch up with everyone.  The temperature here to day will reach 23C.  I'm thinking that weather probably won't follow me to the far north.........

Monday, October 8, 2012

Angel Update

Work continues on my Angel quilt.  This is the progress so far from last week.

I'm very happy with the way the folds of her gown are coming through.  My fabric palette doesn't contain as many fabrics as I'd like but they seem to be working well enough.  It was very difficult to find the grey/green/bronze tones.  Most of the fabrics were very clear greys that wouldn't convey the weathered look that I want for the statue.  I'm leaving the face until the end as I think I'll need to really work to get the innocent facial expression that you see in the original photograph.

This photo shows how much more work there is left to do to complete the quilt.  The process is very time consuming but I'm really enjoying it.  Sort of like doing a jigsaw puzzle!

Work on the new house is coming along much faster than my quilt!  Monday the footings were in and by Friday..........
the foundation was poured!  Next the cement will be poured to form the basement floor.  Hubby and I have been busy choosing cabinets, flooring, windows etc.  What we've found is that you have to pick everything at once in order to have everything coordinate.  So far so good.......

I got two quilts back from being quilted by Karen Cole.
 This one is made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics and will be a gift for a friend's birthday.  The pattern was in an old Quilt Mania magazine, I think.  The photo really doesn't do the quilt justice.
The fabrics for this one were purchased on our trip to Tennessee to go with our living room furniture.  It turns out that the teal one doesn't work all that well with the room but I like the "punch" it gave to the quilt itself.  This is made from the Fire Escape pattern from Atkinson Designs.  A great pattern if you want to make a quilt in a hurry.  It's also perfect for those fabrics that are too beautiful to cut up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Working on my Angel

Things are busy here in my quilt world.  This is the time of year for lots of workshops and visits to various guilds and groups.  Great fun!
In the studio I've been working on my Angel quilt.  My husband is a very gifted photographer so I'm using some of his photos to create realistic quilt art pieces based on his work.
Here are photos of my progress so far on the Angel quilt.  It's a very slow technique as it takes about 2 hours to cover about 6 inches once you get the pattern made.
Hubby's photo.  (sorry about the glare)

My drawing on clear vinyl.  The numbers represent the different values.
Drawing transferred to white freezer paper.
Got the hands done!

 This one will keep me busy for awhile!  Once I get the fabrics onto the background I will use fabric paint to add some details and to soften some of the harsh edges.  Finding fabrics for the angel was a little tricky as they need to have a yellow-green cast.

The Oxford Quilters Guild's quilt show this past weekend was a great success.  Thanks to all who worked on this event.  What a beautiful show!  I really enjoyed the wide range of quilts in the show from very traditional to very artsy.  There were over 400 quilts in the show.

The Ilderton Fair was also on this past weekend.  I entered three quilts and won a first for my dog wallhanging, a second on my quilt entitled "Shattered" and a third on my crib quilt.  The dog quilt was also awarded the "Special" ribbon and will be used in a larger venue next year.  I won a total of $13.00 and a gift certificate.  Out of the $13.00, my membership for next year will be taken at a cost of $5.00.  So.........ta da!.........a grand total of $8.00 will enter my bank account!!!

All those winnings will probably end up in the new house we're building.  Want to see the progress so far?
The footings are poured.  The area back left is my studio.

The bathroom is in!

What are you working on?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oxford Quilters Guild Quilt Show this Weekend

Here is the information about my home guild's quilt show.  I will be white-gloving from 10:00 a.m. on Friday.  Hope to see you there.  I have two quilts in the show.

Oxford Quilters Guild Presents


Sept 27,28 : 10 -7, Sept 29 : 10-4
Admission $5
Ingersoll Arena
97 Mutual St. Ingersoll, ON
Turn at the Tim Horton's and cross the bridge to the arena

* More than 300 quilts
* Merchant Mall
* Bring a non-perishable food item and enter a
draw for a Beautiful Christmas Wall Hanging
Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre
125 Centennial Dr. Victoria Park entrance
  • Display of Quilts by Quilt Artist „Jim Wilford‰ ( Jim will be present on Sat pm)
  • Display of Quilts by Professional Long-arm Quilters
  • Quilters Boutique (including quilts for sale)
  • Tea Room
  • Quilting Demos

Sunday, September 23, 2012

International Plowing Match

Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was working at this year's International Plowing Match being held near Roseville, Ontario.  Roseville is just west of Kitchener-Waterloo.  Although I've done judging for the Plowing Match, I never have worked at the event.  Usually the judging is done ahead of time quite separate from the event itself.
I was hired to present two lectures and one demonstration per day.  Lectures were held in the Fashion and More Tent that had a large catwalk and stage set up.  I'm used to presenting my lectures at guilds where I am fairly close to my audience so this was really different for me.  It was hard to even see the audience with all the spotlights.  That being said, the audience was terrific all three days.  Several people came up to speak with me afterwards too.
Barry, the sound man and his wife Donna who was the MC of all the stage presentations did a fabulous job.  One real drawback was how dirty everything was.  By the last day, Barry was having trouble with his equipment with all the dust and dirt getting into the controls.
My quilts are very dirty so I probably wouldn't do it again but it was a really interesting experience.
Here are some photos of the grounds.  You can see that on this day the weather was miserable but the attendance was still good.  As a result of all the mud, I am now the proud owner of some very cute new boots!  Who know they'd sell boots at the Plowing Match???...............Why those who have been there before, of course!!!  Good thing too as my shoes are caked in mud and I'm not really sure if I'll be able to get them cleaned up enough to wear again.

The "Tent City" had over 550 exhibitors.  There was an amazing variety of businesses there from wood furnaces, life insurance, food vendors, RV sales and even those super-duper slicer-dicer guys that you usually see at all the fairs.  It was great fun to wander along the roads to see everything.

This coming weekend is the Oxford Quilters' Guild in Ingersoll, Ontario's quilt show.  The quilt show will be held at the arena.  Also this weekend is our local fair in Ilderton, Ontario.  Ilderton's fair is one of the best around as it still has that old-fashioned feel to it.  I'll be putting some quilts in.   Last year I won 3 firsts and Best of Show and came home with $14.00.  It's a real money-maker but fun to participate in anyway.
I hope you make it to at least one of these events!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Irish Courthouse Workshop

Check the Home Workshops tab for the Irish Courthouse workshop to be held Tuesday, November 20th.  The workshop will be held in my teaching studio from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Visit to Muskoka

Last week found me once again visiting the Pine Tree Quilt Guild in Bracebridge, Ontario.   It was so nice to be invited back!  This time I presented my "Creativity......what is it and where do I gets some?" lecture at the guild meeting.  The following day we did the "Log Cabin Chevron" quilt workshop at the amazing community centre there.  On Saturday, the guild sold tickets to my "Colour Harmony" lecture.
It was a busy few days!

As you can see from the above photos, Muskoka is lovely and the weather was perfect.
A big "THANK YOU!!!" goes out to Bruce and Elizabeth for hosting me once again.  I was spoiled yet again.......

The Log Cabin workshop was a great success.  The workshop was full at 15 participants who all had great fabric and colour ideas for their quilts.  No two were alike.  I love that as it lets the quilt show the personality of the maker.  Here they are hard at work.  They thought they were coming to find out how to make this quilt but I actually slipped in quite a bit of colour and design theory along the way.  I'm tricky that way!
Saturday's lecture on Colour Harmony was well attended too.  There were a number of people in the audience who had travelled from out of town to come to the lecture.  As usual, I talked and talked about my passion for colour and colour recipes.  So many of the people took the time to come up to see the quilts up close and to talk to me.  It's so nice when people take that time to come up to the front afterwards.

This photo was at the end of the lecture.  I think they were on information overload!

This is Judy who thanked me for coming on behalf of the guild.
Thanks so much to everyone in the Pine Tree Guild.  You are a joy to visit with.

Monday, September 10, 2012

3 Days With Jane Sassaman

I just spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday taking 2 workshops with Jane Sassaman near Waterloo.

Jane and I had met in Winnipeg several years ago while teaching at Quilt Canada there.  Since then, I have always wanted to take her workshops so when the opportunity presented itself, I took it!
The workshops were put on by award winning quilter, Marilyn Farquhar.  Marilyn has a lovely home with a large quilting studio in her basement that comfortably held 20 students.  As an added bonus, lunch was included in the workshop fee.  All the lunches were delicious!
Jane's newest book was available for purchase as well as some of her patterns and fabrics.
The two day workshop "Abstracting from Nature" had us looking at flowers and stylizing them to put into a free form quilt.  Jane taught us to make parts then arrange them into a pleasing arrangement rather than draw a pattern first.  What was very interesting to me was her use of interfacing in her quilting to back all of the fabric including the backgrounds.  We didn't have our sewing machines for the workshop as it was a design workshop, but I'm interested to see how this system can be used in my work.

The one day workshop on Sunday was "Pattern Play".  I would recommend this workshop to anyone.  We drew a motif and then manipulated it into different designs by reversing, connecting and overlapping the design.  Next we cut our motifs out of paper and played with different arrangements. A great device for machine quilters!
One of my manipulated designs in paper.
Instead of driving back and forth to Waterloo I opted to stay in Waterloo at a wonderful new Bed and Breakfast called Colonial Creekside.  There are three suites in this bed and breakfast with balcony sitting areas, ensuite bath and continental breakfast included.  I have to say that this is one of the nicest bed and breakfasts I have stayed in and will certainly be back.  The indoor pool is fantastic!

My breakfast basket on Friday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More Pictures from Grand Rapids

Here are some photos from the Japanese quilt show at AQS Grand Rapids.  It was the first Japanese exhibit that had quilts machine quilted that I've seen.  They were beautifully done.
The yoyos were 1/4"

Made with shimmering silks.

Four seasons.  These were 4 individual panels.
Here are just a few of the quilts from some of the other shows.  I'm sorry that I didn't write down the makers' names.

What a great event!