Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm on a roll...............

We had awesome classes yesterday and YES - I will get the photos edited and posted.  Part of the problem is getting the time to edit the pictures. And let's not forget about sorting the "few" pictures that are currently on my camera card. There is almost one year's worth of pictures on that card.  I'm thinking a few minutes (probably a lot more) and on my newer computer, I could download and at least sort the photos into categories. That wouldn't be hard to sort - there are only a few categories - dogs, vacation, QUILTsocial, quilts, retreats. Easy -- now to find a few minutes to do that.

Then someone had the brilliant idea of installing Photoshop on my work laptop so when I'm travelling and have down time on the plane or evening in the hotel, I could get all the photos edited. Hmmm - that does sound like a great plan. And I do want to update my version of Photoshop Elements that I'm using.  Maybe, just maybe, that could happen before I leave?

After class, I zipped home and got right to work on my projects.   I'm happy to say that I'm making good progress. Am I going to get it all done before I leave?  Not sure, but I'm going to make every effort. It's called priorizing which I'm NOT good at, but there is a time crunch - I'm good in that kind of situation. If I were going to be a doctor, I'd be good in the trauma unit, a GP - not so much!

I started off with a few HST and flying geese.

A gaggle of geese and a lot of HST

And when it was all finished, I had made over 150 HST units - all trimmed and ready to sew into 5 blocks.

Trimmings from the HST

The five blocks are completed and I hope to at least get the borders on all five of them. That is a MINIMUM before I close shop tonight - more would be better. Don't forget, I'm not leaving until Tuesday morning so I do have an extra day, but I also have paperwork stuff to do.

The flying geese are making good progress as well. There are seven flying geese sections and THREE are completed. The rest are in bits and pieces.  Once those are done - the rest is easy and as I'm sewing, I'm trying to figure out how to quickly custom quilt this one. It doesn't need to be fancy, but I was hoping to do something more than an overall quilting pattern.  The plan is to attempt to get it loaded just after lunch.  Quilt in the afternoon, bind tonight and get those borders on the others.  That is the plan and NOTHING is going to deviate me from that.

Like the other night when I was getting that second customer quilt done.  The darn long arm reached a point where it wasn't advancing - same thing that happened a couple of months ago.  I fixed it, but obviously didn't tighten the screw well enough.  Got out the Allen Key wrenches and that thing was soon fixed and I was back on the road.  I have several sewing machines so if one isn't performing, then I move onto the next one, although that has never happened. Although I was having an issue this morning. After a slight adjustment to the sewing machine, all was solved.  You will have to wait for QUILTsocial blog posts in May to see what happened. It's all about knowing your skills, knowing your equipment, NOT having children to bother you, DH knows better and the dogs - well, they've already been to the dog park. Played with the ball a LOT and hopefully they are tired enough to not bother me.

Oh yes -  my big iron is starting to act up. I've had the darn thing for years and years. I love it, but I do believe the steam button needs to be replaced - every once in a while it goes crazy and won't shut off. No worries - I dug out my cordless iron. I need to make an appointment to drop off that iron.  But see what I mean - NOTHING is going to get in my way!

And if the power goes out, I have a treadle in the front hall although I've never used one!

On that note - I'm out of here.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

One step at a time......

We're going to take this one step at a time.  Let's not panic, let's not lose focus, let's see how to break this mess that I've gotten myself into down into bite sized pieces.

First things first - I now have the paperwork for two of the four remaining magazine quilts lined up. The deadlines are prominently displayed on the front of both and thankfully one of the sweet editors gave me a wee bit of an extension. That helps!  You see the darn problem is that I'm off to Paducah next week so there goes my evening sewing time.

The paperwork for the remaining two quilts will be dealt with on Monday. I will create a folder on my desk for these contracts/jobs to call home and mark those deadlines into the calendar and I should be good to go for future.

Now, what happened yesterday?  Well, I got the TWO customer quilts done that needed to be done. I trimmed the second one up this morning. The other will get trimmed later today.

Customer quilt - number one - DONE

Customer quilt - number two - DONE

I still have a few more customer quilts to work on and I know there are a couple in the pipeline.  I need to get them done!  At least the ones that are in my possession. We're talking a single digit number so that's good news.

I have about 15 minutes of prep to finish and all the classes for today will be prepped, although I cannot seem to find my darn pattern for one of them.  Seriously???  How does this happen?  I even have TWO copies of the book and neither one is in the bag where all the rest of the supplies are.  I don't get it - where the heck could the darn things be?  Everything else is accounted for - it must have got mixed up when I packed for the sewing retreat, but I was certain that everything had been unpacked. Obviously NOT!

Now for the story that I've been promising you. The story about the office dog.  I won't go into details - they are not important.  Bottom line, mention of a dog for the office was brought up.  You know - dogs bring down your heart rate and keep everyone calm and all the other good things about dogs. Let's be realistic, having a real dog in the office is not going to happen, although I have offered to take in Murphy and Lexi - that would cure anyone of wanting to have a dog!  They are just two crazy loony tunes.

I will retake the pictures as they are kind of dark.  The poor dog doesn't have a name yet, but isn't it cute!!!

The office dog

Sporting the beautiful Sesquicentennial collection for a collar

The dog is made from Northcott Stonehenge and ColorWorks Concepts and Sesquicentennial for the collar.  The pattern was a really simple one from Carol's Zoo - that I happened to have in my pattern stash.

No name yet - any suggestions???  For the moment, DOG sits on my desk. And we chat. DOG is a good dog, he sits, doesn't bark, doesn't beg for food, doesn't run away, is always there when you call. The office dog is a good dog!  Unlike some dogs I know!

On that note - I've got 15 minutes of prep to finish and then home for a marathon sewing and quilting session which I'm quite looking forward to!

Have a great day!!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Now it's time to panic!

I don't panic - I may get hyper (just like Murphy!), but I don't panic. I just move a lot faster and there isn't a spare moment for a wasted movement.

Here's what happened yesterday. I received an e-mail from a magazine editor. "We haven't heard from you - how is that quilt coming along?"  "No problem", I replied, "It should be shipping to you by Monday next week.". Since it was the end of the day, I shut my computer down. As it was powering down, I realized that this editor was talking about a DIFFERENT quilt than the one that I had in my head. (I've got FIVE quilts on the go for magazines) OH NO--  That means that there is ONE MORE quilt that needs to be made - by MONDAY!   But we're not going to panic!   No siree!!!!!!

There is a lesson to be learned from this - made a list and put those darn deadlines on it!

Part of both lap quilts are done - and I did some cutting this morning.  Looks absolutely awesome. I can't wait to see it finished.

I did get part of that customer quilt quilted last night. Tonight will be the final part and then one more quilt to do before bedtime. Quick prep for the classes tomorrow and then home to sew like a crazy person!

I took pictures of the office dog - I really did. I even edited the pictures and then like an idiot, I forgot to upload the pictures. ACK!!!!   And here I thought I was being so smart.  That means you don't get to see the office dog until tomorrow.

And on that note, I've a ton of things to get done today and there is NO time to waste.

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

When the planets are aligned (or there is a deadline looming!)

I know - you don't have to tell me!  I just came away from 10 days of sewing at two different retreats, yet there I was last night madly sewing a sample that needs to be photographed for a magazine. Of course - it's urgent!  There are a few more things that need to be done by Monday evening - just a few. The total number of which I will NOT divulge to protect my reputation.

The mini-quilt I worked on was one that I just recently made, but it was too big!  Silly me - didn't think about what I was doing.  So the new resized center was already done and the pattern was written. Last night, I added the borders. Well, that went well. Let's get that BRAND NEW sewing machine out (no - I didn't buy one - it's for QUILTsocial but I'm not sharing yet - however it sews like a dream!).   Found a scrap of batting that was the right size, basted (with the iron), quilted with invisible thread on the top and the bottom -   NO broken needles. Matter of fact that machine seemed to be taunting me.  "Sew faster - sew faster!" And yet I was wary because of my previous experience with my own machine. But it worked like a charm. Let's trim and get that narrow binding on.  I cut the binding at 2" - something I NEVER do.  I was so focused and it went on beautifully. It was only when I was done that I realized that I had sewn it on the FRONT of the mini-quilt, not the back. That meant that unless I took it off, I would have to hand stitch it.

Oh crap - the hockey game is on, DH is watching it - I might as well go and join him.  So I did. I even had the hanging sleeve on and all got hand stitched in place - just minutes after the hockey game ended. I have to say that I ended up watching the game by myself - imagine - ME watching TV alone - only because he had to leave to get to the airport. I even managed to turn the TV off myself, but if I hadn't, I'm sure that Murphy would have appreciated that I left the TV on - she seems to love watching TV.

Yeah - all that remains is a label, but that won't be in the photos so I'm home free on this one.  Now to get the guys to take the pictures today and I'm good on this one.  Check, check and check!!!!

Then onto the next urgent things to be done.  I fixed the dog collar for the office dog. More on that another day!  I made the bottom insert cover for TWO bags - had to cut the plasticore and make the sleeve. Those are done.

Cut out the next mini project - hope to sew that today and get it photographed.  Got some supplies lined up for the next project.  Imagine - I need TWO  (not one, but TWO) cream zippers that are 14" long.  Oh, shoot- what are the chances of finding those in the zipper box cause who has time to go buy zippers.

Turns out the chances are very high.  Right on top - there were two zippers - EXACTLY what I needed.   YEAH!!!!!

TWO zippers - exactly what I need
See what I mean?  I didn't even have to dump this out. Opened the box and VOILA - two zippers!

The zipper box

So what was the other thing that I received yesterday????  Something very yummy.


And not just any cookies - NO - these are cycling cookies.

Cycling cookies!!!

They came special delivery all the way from Vancouver. A big THANK YOU to M (whom you've all thought has probably died since you never hear about her anymore).   I had ONE last night and they were fresh and very yummy indeed.

A super, super productive 24 hours.  Now if only I would have done this while I was at the retreat?  That would make life way too simple.  Not to mention that I have two quilts to quilt by Saturday AM - one is half done on the machine and MUST be finished tonight (despite the fact that I have a meeting to go to) and homework to prep for the weekend.  Sunday - I'll be quarantined in the studio to get a lap quilt done in a day!

Most of what I'm working on is for Paducah which is NEXT WEEK, although there are two magazine submissions happening at the same time.  One is done except photos - the other - well I got all the fabric organized yesterday!  I'm not asking for sympathy - I'm just a procrastinator!  Besides - I love working under pressure and work better and faster when there is a deadline. Otherwise, I'm just coasting.

BUT - If you're going to Paducah - there is an amazing series of videos on this link to help you plan your trip.  Wait until you see where we're staying!  I thought it was weird - now I know it is. Very unusual and I was certain there was a mistake. If you are coming to Paducah, don't forget to come and visit the Northcott booth.  We are in the Pavillion, otherwise known at the bubble. Our booth number is 4715. We have free stuff to giveaway and you have to come and see what I've been working on that is part of our free stuff!   I'll take pictures for those that can't make it.

Going to be fun - once we get there!

Have a super day!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On your MARK!

Just had to watch the Libs Elliot/Absolut video again this morning.  I LOVE that video. I think it's beautiful, I love the collaboration and I'm darn proud to be a Canadian!  Now, what other Canadian products can we put a quilt on the label of???  How about French's ketchup??  Let's get our thinking caps on and get quilts everywhere. Perhaps one day, quilts will have the level of respect that the quilting industry deserves. 

If you missed the video yesterday, here's the link again.  It's really cool. 

Before I went on retreat, I was madly searching for some fabric.  I never did find the fabric, but yesterday, I managed to snag new pieces of what was missing. However, in the midst of searching, I managed to find the Tuffet pattern that I had lost. I've since had to buy a new one so now I have TWO!  Isn't that always the way!

Missing tuffet pattern is now found!

Yes - I think it would be a great idea to keep a list of all the things that are lost in a year and then keep track of how many get found!  It's all a matter of keeping things where they belong.  I do a pretty good job of doing that, but every once in a while, something goes missing.  I think I've always been able to find everything - eventually. And I have to laugh when I see where the missing things end up!  This tuffet pattern was in an IKEA bag with odds and ends from cleaning off those darn work tables. But NOT in the same place, I found the missing Halloween fabric!

I think it would be good one day, to go through all the stuff on the floor and in that IKEA bag, sort it, tag it, bag it, label it or whatever so that when I do want something in the future, I know exactly where it is. In an ideal world, I'd be able to finish the stuff off, but that isn't going to happen for a while!

As part of my tidying up, I have several gifts that people gave me.  Look at this fabulous tea towel with a bicycle embroidered on it.  I know - almost too pretty to use. BUT - if I keep this and never use it, what's the point of getting it?  I know --- so the bike towel will be in the kitchen tonight!

Bike tea towel!
I also got this beautiful bookmark.  Amazing how many people don't read real books anymore, but I would be lost without a real book.  I'm OK with electronic, but I forget to read the darn things!  And you can't ever use cool bookmarks like this.

Beaded bookmark
I also received this cool little pouch.  But really?  Hellraiser?  OK - it's appropriate! I have learned from various scenarios throughout my life that I'm a bit more of a risk taker than some. I may not do some of the craziest things, but I'm definitely NOT at the bottom of the scale for taking risks.

Hellraiser?  Hell yes!
A bit thank you to Katheleen, Claudette, and Susan. I love the gifts and they are all going to be used!!!!!

Remember the item I posted the other day - the button, magnet, and ribbon???

What is this????

Well, Sylvia responded that it's a bookmark. Hmmm - now that's a neat idea. I've been searching the internet trying to find an example of it, but no luck.  I've seen other similar bookmarks where the ribbon is long enough that it goes around the pages and attaches on the front of the book.  This one is too short for that. BUT I figured that it works like this - you undo the magnet part and use the ribbon as the bookmark - the button sticks out the top of the book and the little knobby thing sticks out the bottom of the book. When you're reading your book, you can attach the magnets together and it becomes a bracelet that you wear so you don't lose the bookmark. However since I FOUND the bookmark, you can still lose the darn thing!!!!

Am I in the ball park on that???

On that note, I've got a super busy day again.  And better get started.

Have a super day!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I was super excited to see the collaboration with Absolut and Libs Elliot.  If you don't know Libs, she is a modern quilter (from Toronto) who makes amazing quilts using some sort of coding system with the computer.  Check out this link to see the collaboration.    Make sure you watch the video!!!!

Libs has been very active in promoting her work to the NON-quilting community and has done a fairly decent job of it. NO --- I retract that statement - if you look at her web page and check under PRESS, she's done a FABULOUS job at putting quilts out there. So it's no surprise that Libs hooked up with Absolut to do the label.  We need MORE people like Libs to promote our industry.  

I wouldn't call Libs a typical quilter - she is an artist - her medium is fabric. That is different than being a quilter!

I survived last weekend and then had a trunk show last night! Which I enjoyed - more on that another day. But I'll be glad to get home today - guess what - I'll be home ALONE all evening. There are left-overs in the fridge, but I've got a hankering for a damn hot dog!  So I'll be looking for the nearest hot dog cart on my way home!   DH would be mortified if he knew, but what he doesn't know - well it won't kill him!

I was trying to tidy up my desk the other day and realized that I've been neglecting one of my daily calendars - the word calendar.  I'm happy to note that there are words in that calendar that I know. Not only do I know them, but I know how to use them!

Out of the four words below, I know three of them!  Yeah!  How many do you know??

"New" words

Now I need your help. I came across this thing recently but have NO IDEA what it's for.  There is a button on one end (with a magnet) which attaches to another magnet at the end of the ribbon.  So it creates a loop.  Could be a tie back for a curtain, but it's very small.  Any ideas?

What is this?

And just so you know, I'm not as inept at technology as you think I am. I'm blaming all the mishaps on my computer. The other day I got in the car and saw a message on my Garmin (GPS) that I need to log onto the computer and update the maps. Oh - how do I do that?

I found a cable and hooked it up to my computer. I went to the website that came up on the GPS screen and downloaded the software. The program wouldn't open. I downloaded it again. It still wouldn't open. I tried a third time, a fourth time and by this time, I thought something must be wrong.

I tried on my other laptop and VOILA - worked the first time.  Which means that my home laptop is probably too old or the operating system needs to be upgraded!

What do you think???  Has this laptop seen better days???

The keys and the mouse pad are a tad worn!

Yes - I should be using the new computer now that I have all the software loaded. It's habit!  Just so easy to sit down at what I know than fiddle with what I don't.  I guess I need to just shut this thing down and keep it off.  But first, I need to move my photo editing software to the new computer and then I think I'll be good to go.

Well - there is a lot going on.  I made a tiny inroad into the mess in the studio this morning and tonight, I'll be hitting it with a vengeance.  There are quilts to be quilted, blocks to be made, homework to be prepped!

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day and don't forget to buy your bottle of vodka to celebrate drinking and quilts and collaboration.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Motivational Monday - I'm making progress!!!

After my SECOND 5-day sewing retreat in 4 weeks, I would certainly hope I could report that I'm making progress. It's amazing how much time everything takes.  A simple task of making flying geese takes hours, cutting and trimming -  several more hours and before you know it - the day is over!

I did get most of my stuff unpacked last night, simply because I need to continue to work on it. The disappointing thing was I was certain that I had tidied up the studio before I left, but alas I had not!

But I'll worry about that another day.  Here are some of the things that I worked on at the retreat. 

The first one is the mystery quilt from our guild. Normally I wouldn't post it until the actual reveal, but the organizers revealed their quilts at our last meeting so I'm not going to hide it!  Remember that I had sewed that block backward?  Because these blocks are batiks, I took it apart, flipped the pieces over (that triangle business that I said was backward? nope - the piece was backward - wrong side out when I snapped the photo!). So I got that block finished and then sewed the top together. 

Mystery quilt top
Now you'll notice that you can't see the edges of the quilt. And that's because I'm working on the borders.  Yes - I spent a lot more time hacking and slashing with some leftovers and part of the border is on. BUT you won't get to see that until the reveal at our June meeting. Gosh - there might even be time for me to quilt it?  I'm not sure, but the top should be finished - I hope!

For those of you who did the batik exchange years ago - this quilt is the FIRST of many projects that I plan to make with those strips.

Then as  my enders and leaders project, I got the first two little pieces sewn together on 120 blocks (I think that is the number)

Step One done
This is my February UFO - a little behind, but I'm making progress and that's all that counts. It's no longer shelved and because of the Task Master - I will continue to work on it.

The next section is almost finished. I say almost - I haven't counted the number of units already completed so I may still have a few more to go.

Step Two is in progress

Then I became obsessed. The final class for Fancy Forest is on Saturday.  Wouldn't it be nice to get all the blocks done  - heck - it would be nice to get the quilt top done!

All the pieces (MOST of the pieces) were cut out. The Owl blocks were already sewn together as were the Bunnies.

I took ONE group per day and focused on it until they were done!

Fancy Forest blocks
This was an incredible amount of work. I did production style sewing of the blocks, but there was a ton of stitching and flipping. And dealing with a LOT of different fabrics.  It was a challenge and I worked mostly after dinner when my brain was already tired!

The butterflies were the worst for me. I mixed up the colors in two rows and I was going to leave it that way, but then common sense prevailed and I was able to fix it with little fanfare, but it still took a lot of time.

Bottom line - all the blocks (except ONE) are done!!!!!

One hedgehog needs to be finished
I didn't have enough fabric when I was cutting. And no time to find a substitute before I left. So last night I went through the orange bins and found something.  I laughed when I found the fabric on the right - same pattern - different color.  The one I'm going to use is not quite the same, but CLOSE enough.

Substitute fabrics
I will be teaching Fancy Forest again at The Hobby Horse.  The dates are May 28 and June 11th.  The shop is closed on Monday, but I would call soon to get a spot - I hear it's almost full.

Then I got up-to-date with Quilter's Patch.  I now have five blocks done.

Tulips from Quilter's Patch

I did get another block done but it's the homework for this week so no posting that before the class!  And the second block is cut out but it will be ready for class on Saturday. And please don't tell me that there is a mistake in the above block. That is my way of personalizing the block! 😊

I did other things at the retreat - like sets of flying geese for some upcoming quilts for magazines, another small quilt for another magazine and probably a couple more things that I've forgotten.  But it was great.

The Task Master and I had a little chat. She is NOT happy, but she is happier!  I need to book a day that I can go back and get caught up on all those silly things that have been languishing in the book. And I haven't booked anything for the coming week that isn't on the urgent list. The only thing remaining is to create a bigger list - well not bigger, but a list of those projects that HAVE to be done.  Then I can only work on those.  That needs to happen before I sit down with the Task Master this week.  I have some classes and events coming up that require some work.

I do have to say that getting my classes prepped BEFORE the night before has been great. I just need to expand on that for other things.

How is everyone else making out?  Some of the projects you have posted in the Facebook group are amazing!  If I wasn't trying to get things finished, I'd be scoping out a couple of those projects myself. But I'm really trying to be good.

Keep up the good work everyone - I'm super impressed!

Have a super day!