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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day Four

Oh, my goodness - it's the last day of the sewing retreat.  It's 9:02 AM and there are only THREE of twelve of us left. The rest of them got up early, packed up the cars and they were gone!!!!   How could you leave this beautiful place?  The other two have their sewing machines packed away, one is packing the car, the other is doing hand work.  But me - I'm still sewing!!!!   I'm getting to the point where I'm going to have to cut something and I think that is going to be when I call it quits.

It's been loads of fun, can't wait to come back - YES - I got invited back!!!!  Yahoo!!!!   Hey, retreat ladies - I'll be back!

It's been a hoot and I now have about five different names.  I now answer to Eileen, Ellen, the big E and well, I'm sure there was one or two more in there.

Yesterday was a bit of a slow day for me. I did manage to get one quilt top done, the backing and the binding. But it was slow. Mind you there were three borders on the quilt and a couple of us took a little drive.

Yes - we went to another quilt store in the area called Weavers.   Holy cow. These quilt stores are  deceiving. You think you're seeing the entire store when you walk in, only to find that there is another section around the corner.   Yikes - OK - I'll need to quilt a few quilts when I get home to pay for my purchases.  I couldn't help  myself!!!!

Some of the girls went to a lecture/book signing by Kaffe Fassett that was sponsored by another local shop.  I didn't have a ticket and I was OK with that. I think five of them went. The funny thing was that I posted on Facebook where I was and a friend of mine said, "oh - I'll see you, I'm coming down."  I had no idea what she was coming for but turns out it was for the Kaffe event. I didn't get to meet up with her, but I posted a picture of the girls from here that were going and they managed to hook up at the event. Now how crazy is that!!!!!!  

You gotta love social media because it's a way to keep in touch, find out what everyone is doing and where they are.  

Writing the blog has been a bit of a challenge. I get up early every day, but I had to finish prepping something else that required a bit of concentration so that got priority over my blog!  But I can leave today with a clear conscience. I got a lot done, my immediate deadlines are somewhat under control, although it's going to be a focused weekend.  I'm going to pretend that I'm on a retreat, but I'll be at my house!!!!

On that note, I had better get back to sewing. I've got about one hour left before we head out.  Because I only brought in what I was working and took the completed stuff to the car, there is very little that needs to be taken out to the car.

Have a super great day!  And safe driving home to the retreat ladies!!!!  Miss you already!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sewing Retreat - Day Three

I realise that I have to get the blog post done EARLY in the morning, otherwise, there is just too much activity and it's hard to write when there are too many people in the room.  Especially if they're talking guns and knives!  Oh my - we've had such laughs about it.  Yes - we Canadian are way too polite and naive!!!!

I've just come to the realisation that there is something on my computer at home that I need TODAY or I'm in big trouble.  NO - I don't want to leave just yet, but I may have to get up very very early tomorrow morning and get my butt on the road or I travel tonight in order to get that information where it needs to be first thing in the morning.  I cannot believe that I did that!!!!!   I guess when I travel in the future - take ALL laptops and other electronic devices!!!!

Let's not panic.  No no need for panicking YET!!!!   I really really want to travel in the daylight through Pennsylvania.  Hmmm - what could be Plan A, what could be Plan B????

But I'm having a blast here.  The group is great and there is lots of show n tell. There are a few early to bed, then there's me around 10 PM and a bunch of them do the midnight shift. I'm up early as I have some writing to do and it's so peaceful at 5 AM.  I know, only a crazy person goes on a retreat and gets up at 5 AM.  It's always fun to come into the studio in the morning and see what projects the midnight crew finished after I went to bed.

I got another project completed yesterday - yeah!!!   We've all been working on the same project and I managed to get mine completed by noon.

Oh god - I went back to Burkholders - the amazing quilt store to try and find borders, but alas, none were to be found. No worries, I'll get the border fabric where I purchased the layer cake back home. That went out to the car!  Oh no - I think we're doing a photo op later today. I see the last one was completed last night.

I started another project once we were back from the quilt store. I shouldn't have gone but I did manage to find a couple of very cute things.  I couldn't help myself!

This new project was one that I had to cut!  It wasn't all that bad and I managed to get all the rows together before I called it quits last night.  Given my situation, I may just assemble this quilt top and hustle my butt out of here.   DAMN DAMN DAMN!!!!!

My teacher instinct kicked in yesterday.  Brenda had a quilt top that had been pieced by her 90-year-old mother. Now we're not talking about a simple quilt. Nope - this one is tumbling blocks.  A major feat for anyone.  It was a bit wonky with stretched edges.  After a little bit of guidance and a MAJOR session with steam, that quilt looks great!!!!!   I was glad to help - that was my act of kindness for yesterday. Brenda did all the work - I just guided her through the steps.

On that note, it's 7:04 AM and Holly (Ooops - that would be Lily!   OH - that would be Lillie)  just walked in the door.  I guess it's time to turn on the iron and the sewing machine and get to work.

Have a great day!!!


Don't forget that it's my week to blog on QUILTsocial. Check out all the links to get some great sewing tips.

QUILTsocial - Day One
QUILTsocial - Day Two
QUILTsocial - Day Three 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sewing Retreat - Day Two

Oh - the fun never ends. The more I get to know the ladies, the more laughs.  They are quite the group of ladies and well - we've covered a lot of topics.

Since I'm from Canada, I have questions about all things US.  Things like guns.  Oh my goodness - I've been educated on guns - all kinds of guns, handguns, rifles, state laws, holsters including a bra holster.  Oh boy - what an eye opener!   I won't be buying a gun but guns are important to EVERYONE!  Guns and knives - oh my!

I'm totally blown away by this topic of weapons. These ladies have guns and tasers by their beds!!!  Now not here at the retreat (thankfully), but at home.  And let's not forget that men usually have more stuff than women so I can't imagine how armed the men are.   WOW!!!   OK  - one of the tasers is PINK!!!!

On the other hand, I need to buy some alcohol and the consensus is that I won't be able to find alcohol at the grocery store because we are in Pennsylvania.  Maybe on the way home, I can find something.

Oh boy!!!!!   What a fun place!!!

I don't have a weapon in my car! OH MY - now they're all reading my blog. ACK - I had better not mention them by name - right Lily - my new friend!!!!!

But back to the sewing - we are having loads of fun. I think I managed to get TWO projects done yesterday.  These are mind-blowing projects that are boring as heck. But I managed to get these things done and they had been sitting around for a long long time.  YEAH!!!!!   I did need to borrow two strips of red fabric from Ginnie so I could finish the one project.  I was thrilled.

Just before leaving, I bought a layer cake of Halloween fabric from Patrick Lose.  When I arrived here, some of the ladies were going to make a scrappy quilt from a layer cake.  I piped up that I had just purchased one.  Well - I need to make this quilt they said.  And next thing you knew, I had the quilt cut before I went to bed last night.

I'm in the process of sewing up the quilt this morning.  Yeah!!!!   Now off to the quilt store in a few minutes to try and find a border.

OK - can't write any more - there are too many conversations in the room and I can't keep track.  I many write something I don't want to write!!!!

Love all my new friends - they are the best!

Have a great day!

Ciao!!!!   (did any of the above make sense?)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sewing retreat - Day One!!

I'm in the quilting zone!  I was up early and ready to sew.  A couple of us took a small walk around the property to get warmed up!

I do believe that the three of us were alone in this massive room until late in the afternoon when the rest of the group straggled in!  Their loss - I'm very happy that I drove down the day before.

I'm on a roll.  Rather than unpacking the entire car, I brought in my sewing machine, and a couple of bags of projects/supplies. What to do first?

I decided to take some blocks for a quilt and sew them together. There is a massive table - I feel like I'm in Texas (everything around here is BIG), not Pennsylvania.  Anyway, I got to lay out the entire quilt, move a few blocks around and then start sewing.  Very methodical.  I'm in the zone!!!!

Got that top completed and then onto the next one.  That one only required only two seams, but there was a nice 60 - degree cut that needed to be done across a HUGE piece of fabric.  I laid it out on the table, took my cutting mat and ruler and sliced the fabric and sewed it on.  It went together like a charm!!!   I'm very happy with the results. I thought I would have to add something to the top and bottom, but NO - the quilt is the perfect size.  That was amazing as I did NOT plan this one - it just happened.

Then onto the next project.  Some string piecing that I had laying around and was one of the last minute projects I threw in the car.  While I have stuff that I NEED to work on, it's supposed to be fun as well and my plan is to get a few non-urgent things done.   I should be finished that string project this morning and then I better do a "must do" project.

I've now met all the ladies and they are a fun group.

Now in the area where we are, stores are for the most part closed on Sunday.  So that means that NO quilt store shopping yesterday!!!!   Everyone got up and is currently at the store. I'll go later when there's no crowd.  I hate crowds!!!

Yes - we're eating like queens.

On that note, I've got to get back to the sewing machine.

Have a super day!


Don't forget that this is my week on QUILTsocial.  Check out the fun challenge that I gave myself.  Follow along!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Retreat sewing!!!!!

Oh my god - I'm in love with the retreat house!!!!  

We had a super class in the morning and loads of show n tell on my camera.  I even edited some pictures before I left and supposedly saved them to the blog, but alas - no photos this morning.  I really really need to get a photo editor on this laptop!

So after the class was finished, I had TWO stops to make and I got myself organised to leave.  No - the car was not overflowing with fabric, but it was full!

Then on the road.  Yes, I had to cross the border to get to my destination.  The usual questions - food or alcohol?  Nope - just candy for the trip!  Where am I going?  Denver!  No - not Colorado, but Pennsylvania!    Any gifts??  Am I leaving anything behind????  Only threads and scraps!!!  Then I was on my way.  I did notice that they had signs at the border - Save Time - Get a NEXUS card.  Well, I have a NEXUS card so I asked the Border guy - (gosh - what are they called???)  anyway - he said that this particular crossing did NOT have a NEXUS line.  Oh well!!!   On the way back into Canada, there is a NEXUS line.

Now you're going to die laughing at this next story.  Remember how proud I was yesterday when I was able to download that audio book to my iPod????   Well technically, I don't think I downloaded it.  When I started to listen to the book, I realised that I had already listened to that one.  I had forgotten to write it in my "read books" list.  So I'm thinking that the book was already on the iPod!!!!!   How is that for silliness.   I laughed and laughed, but I decided to listen to the book anyway and while the story is all coming back to me as I relisten - it did make the miles pass by rather quickly!

Still - it is a long, long drive to get here, but this morning - well it's so worth it.

One of these trips, I really need to drive in Pennsylvania in the daylight so I can see the surroundings.  There are mountains (or at least big hills) - went through one tunnel - I just love that instead of going over or around the mountains, they chose to go through the mountains!!!!  As I was getting closer and closer to my destination, at least according to the GPS, I was wondering if I would in fact get to my destination.  I had visions of calling and saying that I was lost and would have to spend the night in the car.  

The front seat of my car was littered with money when I arrived!  No - it wasn't raining money, but there were a plethora of tolls that I went through and I didn't have enough change and well - my US money was strewn all over the seat as I tried to satisfy the next toll!!!

But I arrived late last night and this house is AMAZING!!!!!!   I'll be sure to take loads of pictures - we are all (twelve of us) sewing/eating in  one HUGE room.  With windows on three sides, in the country on a farm with cows and a swan and probably much more that I didn't get a chance to see yet.

Let's see, I'm writing this in the gazebo outside as I had to get away from the other two people who are here so far as I can't focus on writing with conversations in the room.  But the best news - there is an awesome quilt store within walking distance.  I mean - it's very, very close!!   That could be dangerous - thankfully it is closed on Sunday - we are in Amish country after all.

On that note, I'm out of here - I'm already cutting and sewing and having a grand old time.  BTW - I did manage to figure out the microwave here and cooked the oatmeal at 60% and no spills!!!!   Yeah me!!  Now to try and figure out how to really download a new book to the iPod.  That will have to wait until I get home as the laptop I have with me, doesn't have iTunes on it and you need iTunes to do the download.   Damn Apple and its proprietary programs!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panic Packing - again!

After some crazy, crazy days, I get to have a few days off. Well, it's not really days off because I have a TON of sewing to do.

Yep - I'm going on a sewing retreat!  First thing yesterday morning, I got some bad news about the retreat. The dates of the retreat had to change slightly and so instead of teaching a class this morning and having a leisurely afternoon where I could cut and prep everything the way I want to.  Nope - I'm leaving TODAY right after my class.

As a result - panic packing!  I think I have everything packed - took lots of those Everyday Market Tote bags of mine and threw everything but the kitchen sink in!!!

This is what is yet to be packed in the car!  Now some of this is for my class this morning, so don't panic!!!

To be packed in the car
 And let's not forget these bags!

More stuff to be packed in the car

Normally I don't take a cutting mat and rulers, but because so much is just yardage at this point, I have no choice but to cut there.  I know there are LOTS of projects that I could just wing in the bag and I did throw in a few extras, but there is a lot of projects that have deadlines and well - those are taking priority.  No worries, I do have a couple of "just for me" projects.

However, I do seem to be having a moment.  When Lexi and I went to go to the park this morning, NO CAR KEYS.  I know I had them last night when I went to the car to look for the camera. Hmmm - I have a feeling they got winged into one of those bags.  No worries - that's why we have spare car keys.

Then I went to prepare for my class this morning and NO PATTERN for one of the quilts.  Not with the project box, not ANYWHERE in the piles of paper on my desk (and oh boy - STOP the piles - take a few minutes, sort the stuff and file it!!!!)   That's on the priority list when I get back!!!    It's simple homework this month, I do have the work outlined in my little blue book which I have, but I would like to find the pattern. And it's NOT in the studio - I looked in all the possible places - well obviously I'm missing one!   No clue even where to look.  I'll just have to borrow a pattern today and we'll wing it!

And there is ONE more missing thing. Perhaps all three items are together? I doubt that.  My little priority book.  I took it to show n tell a couple of weeks ago and do you think I know where I put it???  OH - I must look under the seat of the car - it's possible it fell out of a bag and under the seat.  HEY - I was looking under there a while back and found a mailbox key that had been missing FOREVER.  We since had to get new keys made for the mailbox so this one is useless, but I'm still carrying it around in the car!!

OH MY GOD - in a heartbeat - less than FIVE minutes, I managed to search my brain cells and REMEMBER and actually accomplish downloading a book to my iPod so I have something to listen to in the car.  TWO books actually.    Well the other one I downloaded to my tablet - it's an e-book. Yahoo!!!!!!

On that note, I've got to start packing all this stuff in the car and then OH YES - I better pack a few clothes!

We're supposed to have WiFi where I'm going, so I'll be able to tell you all about my adventure.

Have a good day!!!!


Friday, September 23, 2016

An AHA moment!

For those that know me, I'm not much of a cook.  Don't get me wrong, I can be a good cook IF I choose.  I don't have the time, I don't have the interest. Food isn't important to me except that I need it to live. I know this is shocking to the foodies of the world.   I like to eat, but I would be very happy to eat pretty much the same thing all the time.  Plain and simple is what I'm all about. It helps to keep you from gaining weight as well!

As you know, I've been having an issue with cooking my oatmeal. It bubbles over in the microwave.  I saw Kathy's comment on my blog this morning and well - that was an AHA moment.  She says to cook the oatmeal at 60 % power.  Now why the heck didn't I think of that?  

This morning, I cooked it at 60%.  I had to check out the microwave and I don't think I quite perfected the technique, but the bottom line - cooked oatmeal - NO mess.  Mission accomplished!
A HUGE thank you to Kathy for that tip!!!!   And now I love, absolutely love my soup mug for oatmeal.  While the mug is hot, the handle is not.  PERFECT!!!!   Life just doesn't get any better!

From time to time, you see me post about little gifts that I've received from my students or friends. I still have a couple pictures to post, but no time. It's just total chaos these days. 

However, I don't want you to think that all those kind gestures are one-sided.   Case in point - this quilt below. 

Quilt made from Fireside fleece

A while back, a long, long while back, Ronda bought a kit for a quilt made with Fireside fleece. I think it was one of those "I NEED this kit" moments.  When she got to thinking about it, making a quilt from Fireside fleece is messy!  It's hard to sew because it's stretchy and well, all around, not good news.

After it had sat at her house for a while, she gave it to me - I think the original intention was for me to try and sell the kit to someone.  Well, that won't do.  After all, she bought the kit because she liked it.   I decided that I would make it for her.

It sat at my house for a long, long while and some time ago, I cut the top and serged all the squares together. It went together quite quickly and then it got quilted.  I have no idea when it was sewn or when it was quilted but I want to say that it was this year!   I even made something with ALL the scraps, but that's not finished yet.

I was going to give the quilt to her without the binding. I thought that at least she could do the binding.  Then I thought, NOPE, it's got to be complete or it will sit for a long, long while at her house before anything happens.  The next question was what binding to use for this quilt.  No to cotton and I really didn't want to use fleece, although I've since found instructions for putting on a fleece binding.

I opted for black flannel.  Washed the flannel, since the fleece isn't going to shrink at all, but that flannel will.  Made the binding slightly wider than normal because of all the thickness - yes there is batting in that quilt. I managed to get that binding on by machine - both sides!    I did hand stitch the corners of the binding down and now it is at Ronda's house. Just in time for the cooler weather!!!

And that's one more quilt out the door.  Now why did I do that for Ronda?  Because she has saved me numerous times, with a run to Tim's, picking up little things here and there.  Making this quilt - I probably still owe her for all the small favours she has done for me.

Thanks, Ronda!!!!  It's great to have friends like you.  Enjoy the quilt and NO - it isn't for Mark!!!!

ON that note, the day is already off to a wicked start.  I'm standing in the locker room at the gym (after my shower) and my locker won't open.  Thankfully I wasn't alone in the locker room so someone notified the front desk on their way out and the attendant came to rescue me.  We discovered the lock was broken. Thank god - but now that I'm thinking about it - I might be the one who broke it!  You see, I go to two different locations of this gym.  One you turn the lock to the right to lock it and the other is to the left.  Ooops - I think I turned to the wrong direction.  Sigh........  

Time to get moving!!!

Have a super day!!!