Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Star Hot Pads

Here's the tutorial I used to make my star hot pads. I do have a few comments and suggestions.

First, notice her cutting of the first 2 layers. It's not accurate or straight. It doesn't need to be at that point. I'm all in favour of rough cuts.Trim it properly before you turn to the right side.

 Use a cardboard template and draw around it. I googled pentagrams, used my quilting ruler to add to each side and enlarged it.

She doesn't seem to pad hers. I made a template for the padding and added it after the star is turned right side out. Notice how she draws lines from the midpoint of each side to determine the star folds? That's the template and placement for the inside batting layers. I used one layer of quilt batting and one layer of heat resistant batting. Just wiggle them into place. The batting layers will be stitched in place as you top stitch the star shape in place.

Got scraps? Well there you go.

And speaking of going, Patch has a great sale this week, and I found lots to follow me home. Yum!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and a Movie?

So I'm lying on the couch, watching a good old movie when I see something brown waft by the basement window. I'm downstairs looking up at the window. I think little of it as it's windy and probably just some garbage blowing by - but I keep an eye out. And then the deer head pops in the window, nose to the pane - to get a better look.


Three of them at the side yard! A doe and I think her twins. They were smaller and she was a good size. They hung out in the wild shrubs, munching for a while. Long enough for the neighbours to call over in case we were missing it. The snowplow noise sent them on their way. However,  they're regular visitors. A month ago DH had the door to the workshop open and they considered climbing the stairs in before he discouraged them. He also was watching TV. I sense a pattern. I hope it's a milder winter. We lost a lot of shrubbery to them last year. This year we are armed with a bag of deer food if they get started.

Now, some words about the Christmas giving. As usual I made a bunch of things I liked and then gave them out to people and let them have their choice. As usual, this worked well. However I did make some stuffies for the growing collection of little ones the nieces and nephews are providing.

I do find people in general are happy to receive and I enjoy their pleasure. But NOTHING beats the sight of a little one going atomic when handed what seems to be just the right thing! I know from experience (both as a recipient and as a giver) that the receiver always appreciates, but there does come a few special times when the right note is hit and the little one bounces high with delight. I have no idea how I nailed it (with more than one of them!), but was that ever enough to hold me for a least 10 years, or more! It was a pure and perfect Christmas moment.


These are terrible pictures, but here we have the proud new owner of a doll and her brother about to toss teddy just one more time. Got to love an a-frame ceiling! They held onto those stuffies all night.

I made a quilt for my brother. I was not happy with the result until we got the border right. It defines the pattern blocks and gives them some required 'gravitas', I think. The Great P did the quilting on he long arm as time was creeping up on me. Quilt sewn on my Singer 27VS treadle (circa 1893) and my Featherweight when I decided to clean my treadle, forgetting I was halfway through a quilt.

I made some Noodlehead Open Wide bags. Excellent free pattern (and her purchased patterns are even better!) and I finally like the way the zipper on a bag is put in place. 

I made some bowls from both twined fabric scraps and Home depot cotton clothesline rope (not in picture). They were easy to put together and you can really play with top and bottom thread colour. I plan to play with adding scraps and other embellishment to the bowls next. The family finds they make excellent hats as well. Creative family! 

I made some pentagonal folded star hot mats. If I remember (feel free to remind me) I'll post a tutorial. 

Pinterest twigged me to crochet a cord cosy for my phone charger. Not that was just plain fun! Do give it a try!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


I showed my recent 'must have' notions at sewing guild last night. We all want an adjustable double tracing wheel with chalk marker wheel on the outside. Tiger tape also requested - it's one of those 'good things' that would be nice to have, once you figure out what to do with it. Hand sewers know about tiger tape. And Wonder Clips. Just buy as many as you can afford, in both sizes.

I was more than a bit disorganized in my delivery. It's that time of the year. We get so much up in our heads! One needs to just gather it up and chuck it out occasionally. If only Swiffer would come up with a product. They could give a whole new meaning to Mind Sweeper! (or is it Mine Sweeper? Regardless, both involve things exploding at inopportune times. And then you have a mess.)

Couldn't have been too embarrassing. The Great P held it together throughout. She's been know to go off the deep end and require medical assistance when I make what she sees as an unbelievable gaffe, and what I see as an innocent remark requiring a twisted mind to get where she goes.

Mind Swiffers for all my friends!

At this point for most of us makers we have all the usual notions. We are looking for new toys to play with and help us to new possibilities. And then some of us just want a shiny new toy. Regardless, I enjoy checking them all out.

Clover et al? Send them my way. I can't be bought, but I promise to play hard.

That's wrong, actually. Send me enough fabric and I could be bought.


Waterways are usually considered Federal jurisdiction around here. The province looks after wildlife. The city kicks in with local parks.

So how do you explain this? And what do we do?

Last night's work interrupted by breakfast. No wait! That may have been breakfast!

The new extension to the house. Wife wants it done before the relatives arrive for the holidays.

 Regulatory signage. The papers are in order.

Note the efficiency. Some call it clear cutting. Alert Green Peace! 

This is well off site, so there seems to be some unregulated expansion. I've been reading in the papers lately that this clear cutting may be happening outside of the established boundaries. 

City park. Federal waterway. Provincial animal.

No, actually - I think the beaver is considered of National Interest. However it's nice that the city has stepped in here to take the lead. The appropriate official signage clearly indicates a construction zone. And although dogs must be on a leash, beavers have no such restrictions. I'm waiting for the first smart ass to add to that sign. Hmmm.... Where are those Sharpies?

This area was formerly known as the Shubie Canal. Soon to be the Shubie Lagoon. If you are crossing overhead on the Cole Harbour extension highway, a PFD is recommended.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Ode To My Flannel Sheets

Ode To Flannel Sheets

O Flannel sheets!
How I love you so!
From my softly cradled face
To my well snuggled toes.

I love you so.

It is impossible to leave you
In the early hour.
Who are we kidding?
To leave you at any time
Just makes me sour.

So sour.

I was once inconsolable
During your week in the wash
I bought a second pair
The pleasure is now endless -

(dash rhymes with wash, kind of)

Endless love.

May you never wear out.
May you never defuzz
I celebrate your glory
Until June, because

At that time your welcome
Is a bit overstayed.
I switch to white cotton
Much to your dismay.

But you get to do the snuggle
With your partner pair
To the closet you go.
Your dark warm lair.

But for now, I love you so.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


We went to Lunenburg this weekend. DH took a course in stone carving with Heather Lawson. It was perfect and he came away ready to get into it. We certainly have the backyard for it and we both like that sort of thing. He has that sense of space and proportion that should serve him well. He's aiming for a turtle some day. I'm betting on one enormous and beautiful turtle. We stayed over Saturday night in a local Inn. There are 10,000 little inns in Lunenburg.

It was interesting to visit another UNESCO heritage site after spending time in Bath. The two sites have a lot in common. Both adhere to a particular type of architecture. Both are on a hill overlooking water. They have obvious pride in their physical presence and an awareness of their role as a heritage site.

I've not walked above the waterfront in Lunenburg before. You can walk the whole place in a few hours and it's worth the time. In fact, I did it several times. There are nicely placed signposts telling you some of the details of different houses. It has the biggest bandstand I've ever seen! The town has free wifi! Great to help tourists get around, and you can buy more data if you need to. In Bath I was annoyed by being unable to access an online walking tour as I was walking. It wouldn't download either. In Lunenburg I could see if Kate's was open for breakfast, and it was!

Kate's Catering and Cafe was a highlight! Just go. I used it as my base for snack and warming. Centrally located in the shopping zone.

And OOOOOH! the shopping! First, they have a Lunenburg Makery! It was so much like the Bath Makery - just like twins! Lovely little shop for makers of all things. They have a series of their own kits - many wool felt stuffed animals, etc. They carry some modern fabric, sewing and craft supplies and have studio machines for rent as well as classes. Lovely!

But upstairs and next door there is a clothing shop that makes on site some/much of their stock. Well made, simple designs, lovely fabric and good prices. $99 for a sheath dress in a beautiful yummy fabric. I found all the clothing stores to have good, well curated stock. Quality, not overpriced and much of local or Canadian origin. The home dec stores were similar. It's worth the trip. I'd have to say I liked it better than Mahone Bay (My mother just rolled over and groaned. No worries. She's done that before!).

It could be that I had no rush. Nothing could be better than 2 days to just mosey and poke your nose into nooks and crannies. It was just what the soul needs at times. I also got to hear church bells in play and as I walked by some holy building I could hear hymns being sung. At Kate's later I got to hear about the minister and how the Sunday School activities were progressing. It was like eavesdropping on a community, but in a  nice way. It was a privilege I very much thank them for.

Ooops. I've dangled a participle. And I liked it!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Shedding a Tear of Joy

Sorry about that last post. I've been thinking about it all week. Takes me right back to adolescence and all the crazy things that go through your mind then. And university, and all the things that go on there. It's a wonder we ever come out of the bathroom. It's safer in there. Why do women take so long to get ready to go out? Avoidance tactic. We would rather avoid the possibilities.

Haters gonna hate. Shake it off.

AND..... my fabulous body image is back!!!!!! Missed you baby! So glad you're back!

DH and I have been working on a joint project in the man cave. We had an old footstool in front of the fire for the cats to warm up on. Now that we have said goodbye to the last of our little ones it was time to recover and reconstruct. We cut it down in width and used the extra fabric we purchased when we purchased our fireside chairs. Now we have a footstool built for 2! Ignore the lighting. The fabric matches perfectly. DH says it could fit 2, maybe 3 cats.

DH keeps reminiscing about our feline 5. I've always left the decision about future animal commitment up to him. That's his field. Currently, with the number of cat videos I am being shown (as I write!) I expect him to start building cat toys soon. (Listen. He's laughing at cute cats again!)

Currently DH can do no wrong anyway. Bring on those cats, I say! We went to the Forum Craft and Antique Show today. I didn't think we'd get past the antiques, but I didn't think it would be me not needing to look any further! I'm checking out trinkets and china when he pops over to say "Did you see the Wilcox and Gibbs?".

I know what you're thinking. How amazing is it to have a man who not only knows the history of the bustle, but can spot an amazing antique sewing machine find? I have that man. We scooped that puppy up for a reasonable price and brought her home. I still have heart palpitations when I think of it! I almost cried, right there on the floor. I did hug the seller. He was pleased with my enthusiasm. And as usual, I scored big and DH found squat. Poor man. He's still using my PayPal account for his eBay purchases, so life isn't all that bad for him. I understand I have a tire gauge for a ModelT arriving soon. So PayPal tells me.

We also bought Robertson candies. Christmas tradition. Made in Truro, and better chicken bones than Ganong by a mile! Mmmmm. A perfect day.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What Would Grandma Say?

Yesterday we went to a few estate sales. As usual, I find things for me, DH - not so much.  I picked up a very nice Mi'kmaq sewing basket and a cutwork linen tablecloth with only 1 corner completed. The tablecloth was in a box. I took that with me.

When I get home and flip the box over (before trashing it) I behold the best buy ever! Just think, a dress shop named for me with a real sense of style! I think I may have it framed for my makery.

After the trip to the UK my sewing space is now "The Makery". The British  have a whole thing about makers being more than sewers or crafters, but just slightly less than artists. I think. It was a very confusing conversation at the time. New concept, heavy accent - there may have been too much sugar in my coffee as well. But I do like the name 'makery'. It suits.

At the second estate sale I got 2 lots of buttons. Nothing makes me happier than sorting buttons. If you have some to be sorted, please drop them by. You will be pleased with the results. It's my zen.

I also advised some nice ladies not to pay $350 for an older model White serger. I'm sure it was a great serger in its day and still works well. But you know the threading is going to be boggling and a tune up will break $100. Really. $50 would have been fine.

I admire arty quilts. The ones that someone loads onto a huge frame and spends hours and days and weeks getting the 'loft' and the 'thread' and the swoops and swirls just right. They look amazing! I am in awe of the art form they are. But are they quilts?And what about those gorgeous 'picture' quilts where you use your sewing machine and fabric like an artist uses a brush? I could never do that. No artistic talent at all. Again, is that a quilt?

What is a quilt to you? I want mine to be built to last a few tug of wars. I want colour and design that gives your eye lots to look over. I want it to be warm and cozy and supple. Too much stitching and that supple part is gone. I like scrappy quilts. I have never purchased all the fabric for a quilt in one go and without at least a few well aged stash fabrics I'm not sure it could be mine. I like to imagine my quilts many years from now, raggedy, well loved and just a few stains from breakfast in bed.

Some people define real food as a substance your grandparents would recognize and eat. Would grandma recognize the modern quilts of today? All, part or none of what we see today? Just what would grandma say?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Important Safety Tips

I grow kale in the garden. Even the deer don't eat it. That should tell me something.

I throw it in soups and stews. It's fine there but I needed another use for my fine crop. I heard about crispy kale from the oven. You are supposed to douse it with oil and salt and then pop it in the oven to crisp up. I left off the oil and salt as we don't do those things in this house.

OMG! You need the salt and oil. I may never get that taste out of my mouth! I am currently downing a lot of frozen yogurt to restore my taste buds to a semblance of normal. Tastes like slightly burnt cardboard. Really old burnt cardboard. From grandmother's attic.

Now think about that. Oil and salt. Kale is just a carrier and excuse for the oil and salt. Beware.

Well while in the garden I also plucked the last of the broccoli. I rinsed it well and cooked it up. Looked great! First bite was excellent!

OK. I have read that you should (and I have in the past) soak your broccoli in salted water for 20 minutes before cooking. Never saw a bug. Ever.

There, in my broccoli was one well cooked caterpillar. To be more accurate, there were several. I am really hoping I got to see them all. I had that first bite while watching TV. I am trying really hard to get the broccoli taste out of my mouth now as well.

There may not be enough frozen yogurt in the world. I'm going for the maple syrup. That may help.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Home Again

And we are home.

I no longer wake up at 3:30, hungry for breakfast. Thats a relief. My eating habits are somewhat back to normal and that's a good thing, as we no longer walk 20,000 km a day.

This week we went from summer to fall. All the leaves are busy tossing themselves to the left and to the right. My garden is more of a compost pile. The deer ate the tops off everything so it's a bit of a treasure hunt out there.

I have my 2 sewing machines back from their respective 'day at the spa'. It's too hard to let them out of the house so I try to do it when I am away. They came through the experience well, with a few worn parts now replaced. Don't you wish your body was that easy? I could use some new joints and some tightening of saggy parts.

I'm sewing up the latest bag from my Swoon Vintage Collection. It's a cute bag and I need a lunch bag. It seems wrong not to have one. I have some vintage looking laminated cotton and thought it would be just the thing for the inner and outer layers. My lovely Pfaff did something I've never seen (or rather heard) it do before. It farted!

There is no other better description. As each stitch progresses through the feed dogs the cloth squeaks on the machine bed. However, it sounds just like a row of perfect little old lady farts!I am using a teflon foot and the stitches are just fine. We just fart our way through each seam.

This is new for me. Very new. Makes it hard to concentrate.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


More train today! We love the train. We even have our fav ticket agent.

Off to Bristol. We got off the train and strolled down the walk a bit to the harbour. You catch the ferry there. Neither the harbour or the ferry are like home. The harbour looks like a big river. It had the second highest tides in the world (we have the first) but they dammed it all off to control that. If they let the water do its natural thing now the city would collapse. The water pressure holds it together.

The ferry is a little open boat that pulls up, you wave them in and jump on. A young man took our money and as the boat was almost empty he spent the 20 minute ride giving us a super tour and loads of tourist info and maps, etc. worth the day right there!

We did the aquarium and the M Shed. The M is a wonderful mish mash of local history and social history. Free and very well done.

The ferry and train home was equally fun. Dinner out at a local watering hole and my first taste of sticky toffee pudding.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Train

As we start into our last few days we are just crossing a few more things off the wish list.

Today we took the train (our first!) to Bradford on Avon. It was a lovely town. Again it was located in the river valley, so all of our walking was straight up hill. But the views! We found an ancient Norman church that had been saved and made available for viewing. It's so amazing that these things exist!

After we explored we walked down the canal to the next town - Avoncliff. The walk was beautiful. In the 45 minutes it took we were never out of sight of narrow boats. These seemed to be longer stay people and less tourist. At Avoncliff the canal is bridged across the Avon River. Imagine boats floating high above the river! All on a beautiful aqueduct from a few centuries back.

There was a great pub there. It was our best pub experience. We were pointed to a table over by the glowing fireplace. Nothing in the pub looked any younger than Noah, and I'm sure the Ark pulled up there at some time. The food was excellent. We are getting quite fond of cider.

We strolled over the river to find our train just about to leave. At this station the platform was too small to load more than one car - so you need to seat yourself accordingly. I expected to catch the next train, but the driver leaned his head out the train window and yelled "you just hop in here Love!" He reached back and opened the door himself, while the conductor was also popping out of his car to beckon us on. Service!

These are things we will miss!


So we just returned from Another! pint in town. It's Monday, and that means the cathedral bell ringers practice from 7 pm to 9 pm, or until they like what they hear I guess. So we walked along the canal, listening to 9 bells ringing (just a little off course), bats whizzed around the shrubs and someone was playing the Pink Panther in the saxophone shop that is located in the bridge abutment .

Surreal! May have been the Wild Goat cider though.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

It's getting that fall nip over here, certainly cooler than it was.

We wandered today. Ran into some great shopping with antiques and vintage things. However prices are very high, and we can get great stuff at home.

But we did buy tickets to the opening rugby match for the Bath team. What an experience! There is a lovely stadium right in town by the river. It was pretty well full with 12,000 people. I still don't understand what's happening, but I'm getting better. People either had pints or pitchers of beer. Pitchers for individual consumption, that is. Awesome! Bath won, of course. The game started exactly on time. The crowd was polite, even clapping a bit to welcome the other team. We had 1 supporter from the other side in our section and we enjoyed him thoroughly. When they scored we laughed as he cheered, all alone. No pushing in lines. Everyone stood nicely to let people to their seats. Those going to their seats were polite and careful. We could learn a lot over here.

As soon as the game ended everyone headed to the pubs. The rugby club had a big screen up for the Wales/England game. As we walked home you could hear singing and cheering coming from the town as a unit! The pub windows and doors were open! What a unified town!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Slowing Down

We took our cute little car back. All in one piece! Yah!

We want to slow down and relax for our last week. We just walked the streets today and cat wrangled. The neighborhood cats still come for food. We may never get that settled in the time we have left. Leave it for the next ones, I say.

I did wear my new undies today. Lovely, but my own self made do feel more comfortable. It's hard to get that perfect fit off the shelf. But M&S make a darn good try, and it's nice to have the options.

I have been away from my sewing room for over 3 weeks. I am starting to get itchy. I sent my 2 main machines in for a day at the spa before I left on this trip. It was a difficult moment! My babies! If they aren't ready when I get back, I may be more than a little distraught. I think I'll send off an inquiry tonight. It never hurts to check in, eh?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Cheddar Cheese

I have now been to Cheddar Gorge! The drive in is spectacular! MB, I can't believe you did that in a bus! I have a sister who could not have done that in a coma. The drive is, shall we say, challenging, and breathtaking.

Caves, nice town, high tower for viewing. And Cheddar cheese aged in the fore mentioned cave system! Delicious!

Good day.

Returned in time for my first visit to Marks and Spenser. Lovely! But the second floor was full of bras and such in my size! And at reasonable prices! I wept.

I bought one set but I shall return, methinks. I needed to recover, emotionally.

We went out to our pub for a pint of our Wild Goat cider. Staggered home happy.

Every pub and restaurant here is advertising Christmas dinner. Book your table now! It's a major campaign. I guess no one does their own turkey around here. Interesting.

We turn the car in tomorrow. Just as we were ready to go pro!  The driving is actually not too bad. Reading the road signs is hard. We'd be lost without the iPad. Follow the blue dot! Maybe one more trip tomorrow. See how we feel in the am.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lacock Village

This is the village that starred in Harry Potter movies and others. Film crew setting up in the courtyard today. Really lovely. We spent most of our time at the Abbey and adjoining house. Wonderful gardens and stuff! The first photograph was done here. We are loving this relaxed, take your time pace. We interrupted our tour for lunch at the local. When we went back we were recognized by my quilted jacket.

It's a great traveling jacket. Cosy, comfy, good pockets and really easy to find in a crowd over here. People do not wear colors here. I get lots of compliments on it though.

Kleenex are more like printer paper. Toilet paper comes in every color. Mushrooms are cheap, but nothing else is. I have yet to see a hedgehog. I really want to see one.

In Lacock they drive down over the bank, through the river and up the other side of the Avon River. It's OK. It's paved.

We have now discovered why we are buying cat food at a fairly frequent rate. The neighborhood mooches are coming in, getting food pouches out of the box and escaping out the cat door. We interrupted this in progress tonight. Cat annoyed. Us too.

Don't ask where the washroom is. They have no idea what you want.

Pedestrians don't have the right of way here. Really. They don't. When you get a walk light you better trot right along, as there is only enough time if you hurry. There is a frantic beeper to hurry you along.

You often see craftspeople working at their jobs. Stone masons working carefully on walls, painters scraping doors by hand and filling pockmarks, thatchers working on roofs. This seems to be the norm. It's fascinating. I'm not sure we value this work as it seems to be here. Actually, the keeping of all this heritage is really making me ask questions. How does it come about that these things are still in use and seem to be the standard rather than the exception? We tend to tear down or 'renovate' things. Mind you, we don't have the age that they have over here.

Gardens are massive and ancient. Even little postage stamp plots are well established. We plant and if it lasts 10 years we are thrilled with the lasting and perhaps tear it out and replant for a new effect. We don't plant for the third or fourth generation from now. Maybe it's just me. I know I'm thinking this trip will have a lasting impact on me. I really need to do some major weeding when I get back.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Henge

We took on our most challenging drive today. We went to Avebury to see their henge. A henge is a stone circle. We knew we could get right up to this one, unlike Stonehenge. It's also a bigger circle than SH.

Well, it was large and easy to get around. But it was a big pile of rocks. We think we'll probably skip Stonehenge now. We did get to see a white chalk horse on a hill, though. Now that was amazing! And we have almost conquered the roundabout!

There were several large groups of school children all over. They reminded me I love retirement. However, they were very well behaved. All of them. This seems to be the norm whenever we see school groups out - even the large groups of teenagers.

Must be something in the water.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Wild Goats

Today we went to Wells Cathedral and the next door church palace with moat and gardens. You know. To keep the only fresh water from the lowly villagers.

Amazing place! Really great volunteer local guide. We dropped Cheddar Gorge to stay and do the place justice.

But first we went off to the charity store and picked up the most beautiful pair of  Ungaro sandals with red berry decorations. I saw them in the window Saturday night. I revisited them Sunday. They were so beautiful!  We were on the doorstep well before opening on Monday and the kind shopgirl let us in. They fit just like Cinderella's slippers! 9 pounds later (DH threw in an extra pound because it was a joyous occasion) and I carried my prize home. My visit here is now complete. If I can just pick up some panties at M&S I will be done.

Off to the pub for a pint. We prefer Wild Goat. Lovely!

Castle Combe

Sunday we drove to Castle Combe. The driving went much better, and I have discovered that Maps has a lot more features than I thought. It even has voice directions, and recalculated when you don't listen. Trust the voice. 

The village is completely untouched by the last 500 or so years. There is a parking lot on the edge of town to keep it that way. So lovely! 

We walked through town and then out of town on one of the ever present local walking trails. Everyone walks here, and maintained trails are important. They aren't travelled, accessible perfection like our trails, but they are maintained to be what they are. You often see signs up telling the locals about what work is currently underway. It's worded in a way that says 'respect for your wanting to know'. Also keep dog on leash as we are losing sheep again. 

We got lost while walking and a local straightened us out. Getting lost has become our fav thing to do. Back in the town we checked out a house sale and picked up a bag of Liberty scraps for $10.  Haven't seen Liberty cheaper than that. Scraps included. 

Had a 'roast' dinner at the pub. Roast Sunday dinner is what you do. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

On The Road

So much excitement! We drove our little Fiat 500 (in bright yellow so the British can see us coming) all the way to Castle Combe Circuit. It was rally day at the track. My man was in heaven!  He got to meet his hero Ari Vatanen, and I have a picture to prove it. We saw him make doughnuts on the track. Wonderful! We saw lots of excellent drivers make doughnuts on the track. We saw a million cars of every variety. Some cars DH thought did not exist anymore, and there they were - a whole flock of them! He was very happy. 

I had a chicken burger. And got a free T-shirt. 

Actually, I really liked it as well. 

The driving was intense. DH focussed on staying in the correct lane and I navigated, with the help of Google maps. I am learning a whole lot more about that app than I knew before. It's quite robust in what it can do. 

Me, not so much. We actually probably weren't lost, but we're concerned that the 1 way cow path we were on may have been wrong, and we went back for directions. These included "go straight past the duck pond" but did get us there. We came back pretty well, and plan on going back Sunday to visit the town. Our wonderful neighbor has drawn us a map of a walk around the town that most people don't find.  She has been so friendly and helpful! Everyone here is. 

Now, strange behavior at the track. Drivers are on the track doing amazing things. There are thousands of people watching! Thousands! They all stand quietly, no pushing or anything impolite, but absolutely no noise. They don't cheer, they don't clap, no whistles - it's eerie! Same at the autograph sessions and famous people talking. The crowd had to be asked to move closer. They seemed to think this rude, but space was needed at the back. Children were well behaved and well supervised. This is a strange world. 

Friday, 18 September 2015


Just back from the pub and watching the opening game of the rugby World Cup. This is big stuff over here. Big stuff. I'm watching, but I have no idea what I'm looking at.

Could be the pint of Wild Goat at the pub that was delicious! I think it was a shanty like thing. Delicious!  Effective!

We poked around the guts of the Bath Abbey this morning. We climbed over 200 stairs. They call them stairs. Think circular staircase that was meant for teeny bell ringers. Climbed for over 400 years, worn to a frazzle. There was a channel worn through the stairs where a leak came in. We would never let people walk them in Canada. The safety fence on the top of the abbey was chicken wire.

They expect you to be responsible for yourself over here. The view was amazing, but you got to climb in around the bells (while they rang!) see the different apparatus to ring bells from over the centuries, sit behind the clock face and look down into the Abbey through holes in the roof. So neat! The staircase was still most amazing. It was so teeny, high and treacherous. Just like an old scary movie.

We rented a car this afternoon. DH drove and I navigated and called out signs and what was happening. Nothing  is familiar. You need to watch and interpret everything. Success! The car rental was cheap. The add ins were beyond belief! We didn't get GPS. It cost more than the car. All cars are standards. No AC. Insurance is way more than the car. Parking is a whole other matter.

Got it all worked out eventually.  DH drove beautifully! We go to the race track tomorrow. So exciting!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Study Day

A study day. We went to see the Georgian house and the Bath Architecture museum. We actually find that stuff interesting.

The house also had a doll house display. It was eye opening! Children did not play with these. They were rich adult toys and money seemed to be no object. How about a set of blue and white hand blown wine glasses - and only about 3/4" tall?

The house was well done. They have a guide in each room to tell you stuff. Makes the entrance fee easier to take. No one hurries you. These houses had arched vaults under them for storage. These woul be under the basement floor which is already below ground level, but with a walk out courtyard to give it light. As most floors are about 10 feet tall, this gets quite deep. The vaults also pop out well under the street. Neat stuff.

We have to stop eating out. It's horrendously expensive. A cup of tea starts at $5. And I'm getting fat. That's hard to do with all this walking.

Tomorrow we pick up a car. OMG! But there is a big day at the local car race track on Saturday, and we need to be there!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


It was a perfect rainy day. I hit a lovely wool store, an amazing fabric and haberdashery store and slid into my seat at the Jane Austen fashions talk just in time.

At an English talk the audience is ever so well behaved. You do not talk, whisper, cough or breathe loudly. You would never rustle anything. You just listen attentively. It's refreshing.

The fabric store lady told me about a Kaffe Fassett talk tonight. I googled it and set off. The tickets were sold out, but I was ushered in, handed free wine and Kaffe hand lotion and got a seat. It seems the ticket was meant to be a coupon towards the book. I sat with a lovely local couple.

Kaffe needs no introduction to most, but for my family - he designs knitting, fabric and quilt patterns. Very colorful! Mom would know his knitting patterns.

Kaffe was very entertaining and also mentioned the woman who taught my bead workshop. She supervises all his sample work. At the end of the night I bought his new book- with the 7& help of my neighbor's husband's ticket. What a sweetie! It's now autographed, of course.

DH was not into any of this. He broke his toe today and spent most of the day talking to the cat. He'll be fine by tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A really great day

I had tea in the Pump Room. THE PUMP ROOM!

Ron took me. I am speechless about the whole thing. It was perfect. I spent the whole time amazed by the experience. Not describable. Not at all. Wow.

Big wow.

This should be the end of the entry, but the day was even more full.

This morning I went to a workshop led by the woman who coordinates the samples for Kaffe Fassett's books. We made felt and ribbon beads with embroidery stitches and beads and such. It was an event to launch her new book on what to do with his ribbon line. I really enjoyed meeting other ' makers' here in the UK. They were very nice. We chatted about all sorts of things. They prefer the term makers to fabric artists. They were quite clear as to why, but I'm not sure I got the point.

I got news this morning that I got in to the sold out workshop. A bit of panic, but I trotted off to the center of town, found a bus stop, a student at the local university to help me get on the right bus a wonderful bus driver to direct me, and there I was - on time even!  No problem!

Then tonight we went out to find a pub. We found one and I got quite soused watching a soccer game on the big screen.  However, while searching for the perfect pub we ran into the Australian rugby team twice. They were hard to miss, in their suits with funny tasseled hats on top of their heads. The police escort and no parking zones also marked them well as they walked from an official function to and from their big Australian bus. Big team. Good looking team. They also went to the pump room.

I think I enjoyed it more. What a day!

And I didn't mention my visit to the sewing machine dealership, did I? Maybe tomorrow. They were great people as well.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Rain Begins

The saxophone store is having a 'blow out' sale. 'Nough said.

It's raining. A proper Englush rain. It's a good wet rain that turns on and off without warning, all day long. Rain jackets just soak your pants first. English carry umbrellas instead. We went to the Fashion Museum.

It was amazing. I have seen Mecca and it looks like this. They even let you book in and poke into boxes in the back rooms. I'll see if I can book in. I spent hours there, and even Ron enjoyed it. He was allowed to antique shop, but did get back in time for the second half.  Ask him about the evolution of bustles and crinolines. They had a special display of Georgian wear, but then a great overview of fashions from 1800 to present. I saw dresses by every one of my gods and goddesses. Schiaparelli! Chanel! Yves! Gaultier! And so many more. Even a Fortuny. A Fortuny!


Then we had lunch (another $50 for a basic bite). It is not cheap here. At all. Found Liberty cotton and would not buy it at 22& or about $45 a meter. Just couldn't.

Now, I can't post pics from my iPad. I don't know how to connect the dots. If you want to see pics email me and I'll give you access to my Bath cloud.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

I'm Gaining Weight

I nap well here. The house is quiet. The walking and fresh air do you in.

Very nice.

There is a saxophone store in the middle of a bridge.  Just saxophones.

There are 2 floors of pianos in another store. 2 full, complete floors dedicated to pianos.

Today we discovered Cornish pastries. I need never eat again. I am full.

It's the beginning of Jane Austen week. People in costume everywhere! We went to the 'Bath in Austen time' art display. We both enjoyed it. The building was amazing as well.

But not as amazing as finding a fashion clothing store with windows lined with old sewing machines! The designer found them piled in the warehouse and thought they would make a good display.

He was right!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Finally a Fabric Store!

Yesterday we walked about 2 hours to find the abandoned churches and graveyard the neighbor mentioned.  It was about 10 minutes away, actually but the wander was breath taking! We met some volunteer caretakers there who were chatty. Saw the grave of the man who wrote Danny Boy.

In the main square today I watched this costumed Roman pull up and set up a pedestal. He arranges his sign and leaflets and steps up on the pedestal to take his position. You could watch him settle into the most perfect statue pose ever! His costume has a perfect coating of grey statue whatever - as did his skin, right to the eyelids! As he's posing motionless (and he is the most convincing statue you ever saw) he would wait until some unsuspecting person walked by and maybe extend his hand for a handshake.  I've never seen anything so well done!

The sign said "ask me for a selfie" so I did. He doesn't speak. He just rearranges himself slightly to be in the pic. He was up too high on the pedestal and me - well, you know. He gave me a pat on the head and I gave the camera to Ron to take the pic.  When he patted me even his hands felt and looked like stone. He keeps his eyes closed so he really looks the part. He was advertising the local museums.

We went to the American Museum today. It's on a huge and beautiful estate just a few minutes out of town. We took the free shuttle. It's a different type of museum. It looks just like what you expect, but the Englush see the Americans a bit like a curiosity. Think of what we would do with a British museum in NS. The picture was not complete. I was there to see the quilt collection. It was lovely.

I found The Makery this morning! A lovely fabric and craft store. I bought neat things like ribbons, make your own espadrilles kit, a few fat quarters. Fabric is double what we pay. I would not be happy about that here.

The local university is completely enclosing a field with a visible barrier. The Australian rugby team will be practicing there and want to be private. The city is rugby possessed right now. The world championship is coming up I think. Every pub has a countdown sign in the window. P! Do I need to pick you up anything?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Oh Danny Boy!

Walked about 2 hours to find the abandoned churches and graveyard the neighbor mentioned.  It was about 10 minutes away, actually but the wander was breath taking! We met some volunteer caretakers there who were chatty. Saw the grave of the man who wrote Danny Boy. What a place! The crypts wandered up the hill and disappeared into the growth. It was like a painting that was fading around the edges.  The men mentioned that they were surprised we found it. Most of Bath doesn't realize it's there. It's well hidden.

We saw the actual Roman Baths this morning.  DH has now topped off his bucket list. We spent hours, and it was worth the trip right there. They have done an excellent job preserving and yet making everything accessible.  People seem to have respect over here. The ruins are accessed from street level but go underground and under streets and buildings as well. They plan to excavate more. We'll need to come back for that. We did take the waters.  Tasted like that water you drain off after cooking hot dogs. About the same temperature.

Did not take tea at the Pump Room yet.  Need to dress up for that, I think. It just seems right.

We also ate at Sally Lunn's today. Her buns are famous! They're also huge. You only get half unless you specify. It's the oldest whatever in Bath. In the basement they have excavated down to the Roman street, and then the different layers of occupation upwards. The current street level is up a floor now. The original kitchen is about 2 feet above Roman level and 6 feet below current level.

I've read that last passage over again and fear that the Great P may be beside herself again.

and there you are.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Another Day in Paradise

Jane Austen! I know. I should be shot. Jane this, Jane that... I get confused.

I went to a short lecture on Jane Austen as a pulp fiction author. She rarely mentioned Jane and talked more about some male author who may have read Jane and laughed at her style of prose, feeling a woman's time was better spent on embroidery. With embroidery you get an actual result.

Next week we hear from someone else on Georgian fashions. Sounds good!

Walked the 10 minutes to the store to get supper stuff. On the way got a lesson on how to get a narrow boat through the locks. So simple and quick - which is good, as there were 3 locks between me and the store. Lovely people! Lovely time of day. Other boaters out on deck, reading or sipping wine. There's a great deal of sipping. The maximum speed is 4 miles/ hr, the canal sides are like a bumper pool. Wine is really encouraged.

Then the way back was enhanced by the view down into the city. And the sound of ancient church bells ringing out. That happens several times a day. It's beautiful.

We were walking (so much walking!) and noticed a little churchyard, right in the middle of a park. It was right out of a movie.  The building was just a shell, overgrown inside and out. The crypts were settling into the ground and were overgrown as well.  What a step back in time!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Another Good Day

Today was chilly. We came home for sweaters.

Children wear lovely school uniforms. The new season shows as newly purchased outfits. They look so perfect! Skirt hem length seems quite variable. And short. But with tights.

I could walk canal paths for days, and probably will.

Ducks quack louder here.

Women outings are called hendoes.

Cleo had a tiff with the neighborhood bully cat. At high noon.  In the upper hallway. Not sure who won. We are now her 'muscle' when she ventures out.  Ron goes with her for the first bit and growls at the surrounding bushes. Quite effective.

Went to a lovely museum today. Lovely needlework and a huge willow sculpture.  My cup of tea! Then walked the park surrounding it, as Jane Eyre did when she lived next door. Took a picture of her house (of course).

Bought some vintage sewing patterns today. Companies I had never heard of. Gorgeously!

The neighbors have a lovely daughter. She drew me a map of the 8 year old's version of a tourist map. It's very informative. I need to find this tea spot, it seems.

TV is a bit different. Watch this!

Tomorrow a short talk on why Jane Eyre was the pulp fiction queen of her time. And we'll try for the largest antique shop in the world. Even though I thought we had already been to the largest - several times!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

THe Right Cat Steps Forward

Good news! The correct cat has identified herself. At approximately midnight a slight, furry, purring delight arrived on my sleeping head, treading and vigorously spooning me. She was hungry and had a huge midnight snack. She spent the rest of the evening sleeping on our feet.

The wrong cat still checks out the kitchen feeding station, using the cat doors as if they were her own.   This may call for the squirt gun by the kitchen window.

Of course, right cat/ wrong cat - whose word do we take on this?

The allegedly 'right' cat is happily purring in my husbands lap now. Both happy. He wants to apply for a passport for her. What does AC charge for a cat? He could just tuck her in his sweater.

Today we wandered the town. It was filled with others doing the same thing. A perfect day! We listened to the Saxaphonics in a park. Scouted out lots of things to do. Saw lots of places to shop. The English seem to love parks. They were everywhere!

I found a Pfaff/ Husqvarna dealership! Just like home, but the fabric is more expensive.

We also walked along the canal behind our house. Lots of long house boats tied up on the  sides of the canal We just missed one using the locks. I'd love to live in a houseboat for a bit. It looks so peaceful. The grocery store is just a few minutes along the canal. They have fresh vegetables and croissants!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Crossing the Big Pond

Good travel. AC left and arrived on time. Mind you, first class looked amazing! Little individual islands of lie back luxury. For just another $998 (one way) I could have had champagne.

Flight was fine. Customs smooth. Found the bus (coach) easily and it was also a good ride. Hopped a taxi right away and got in the house without a hitch.

We have learned:

  • That we have fed several cats who arrived in the kitchen through the cat door. None of them were our cat. 
  • Walk facing traffic while on the sidewalk. It's prudent. There is no buffer zone between car and you. 
  • Switches and plugs and just about everything is different here. 
  • You can walk everywhere. 
  • Women wear hats to weddings. 
  • Everyone has an accent. 
  • I'm very tired. We'll sleep well tonight. Just wondering who that will be on the bottom of the bed. Antique market tomorrow!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Pro Totes

I know. I haven't written in ages! It's not because I haven't had anything to say. I always have lots to say.

I'm writing on my iPad today. I am traveling soon and want to test run things before I go. I just finished a new bag for the occasion! I had made a Professional Tote and love it. It has all the right pockets and doohickeys in just the right places. But I found it a bit big for everyday use, and I want a daily packer.

The Professional Tote has a mini version, but I didn't have time to order the pattern and it isn't digital. I improvised. Taking the measurements of the mini  from the pattern description I cut down my full version. I'm no math goddess, but it worked! I also tried to reduce weight by carefully choosing what to interface with what, and using quilt cotton for all but the bag bottom.

It's (more or less) perfect! Where the bigger bag handles a laptop, this one takes my pad for a custom fit. Water bottle and umbrella pockets still work beautifully. The structure is firm without any extra weight. Well, maybe a little.

So here it is with it's big sister. It took me more than a week to figure out that I can't load pics from my iPad, so I went back to my Mac. If you know how, please share with me. Google does not want to recognize the Cloud.

Why can't these 2 just get along?
I understand Bloggers go through droughts. Hopefully mine is now over.

Just got back from the annual sister week of debauchery. We were in Montreal again this year, and the weather was perfect! This year we had coordinated nighties - blue and white - either striped or polka dotted. Many complaints about fit. They fit fine, but some bosoms may have been looking for a bust adjustment I've just never done before. Not my problem. They fit just fine everywhere else.

I had a day of fabric shopping to myself. I find that being on your own means other (single) people treat you differently. People at the commuter train speak to you and look out for you when they realize you're new. The Subway guy helped me to my seat and checked on my napkins - I was eating a meatball sub after all! It was a very nice day! I was shopping at many of the stores visited by the Montreal sewing bloggers the week before. I mentioned this and was told everywhere that stores were seeing spin off customers from that tour. Stores were pleased!

I went to buy exercise wicking fabric and shirting fabric. I stuck to that pretty well - with more money spent of notions than I had planned. Little things add up! I will probably stick to the more upper end stores for a bit now. If I have to lug, pack and pay for it I want it to be something special. Besides, I got excellent fabric for $15/m.

My stash does overfloweth.

For the last 2 days I worked on a shirt, using the Collette Aster pattern. I did a FBA, shortened the sleeves (long version) and ended up taking in the side seams from the waist down. I used a nice linen and that shirt went together perfectly! The instructions for the sleeve placket were perfect and easy to follow.

Now, I did deviate when inserting the sleeve. They wanted me to run 3 rows of gathering stitches and ease it in. Just say no. No, no, no. I used a strip of bias self fabric and sewed it to the sleeve cap just inside the seam allowance with a slightly longer stick. I pull hard on the bias as I sew and this eases the sleeve cap to the bias. The resulting cap has a nicely built in curve and pops into the sleeve armsyce easily. It stretches to fit or can be further eased by pulling on the stitching - rarely required.

As an added benefit I make the bias strip about 2" wide. This means I have a nice soft strip of fabric supporting the sleeve head and giving it some smooth support.

Now, to make this sewing experience even more perfect, I managed my thread with incredible skill (luck). I had 2 shades to work with and 1 was a better match, of course. However I didn't think I had enough of the good match to make it all the way through. There was topstitching, after all. I flipped both threads from bobbin to spindle - back and forth - finishing the last stitch (the last buttonhole!) with the actual last inch of matched thread on top. I even had the 'Check Needle Thread' on the machine screen.

I'm expecting a huge disaster in my future to make up for that.

Ah!There it is! Worst picture ever!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Buy Some Drano!

As I showered this morning I thought to myself - do these legs need the annual spring dehairing? Then I looked out the window and realized I had lots of time. Lots and lots and lots. However, can't you just imagine the clogged drains when we again catch sight of earth? Can't wait!

Meanwhile the search for the perfect pants continues. I picked up the Wallis pants pattern from Style Arc. I liked the style lines and thought the stretch might be 'fit forgiving'. First let's just say those are leggings, not pants. The fit is leggings for sure. I love them, but they aren't pants.

The muslins were not promising. DH pointed out the problem areas and made the serious mistake of wondering if there was an issue in the belly area. I've allowed him to live for now - but it was touch and go there for a bit.

I percolated on this thought for a day or two. I studied the muslins, the telltale folds and also (alas!) my belly. It seemed I did need a FBA. The dreaded Front Belly Adjustment! I had vertical folds from the crotch are up to the waist. The belly was talking more fabric to cover it and dragging all the pants with it. Extra fabric gathered at the crotch. After I added a little roundness to the pattern pieces at the belly bulge the wrinkles were gone. Now, I do have other fitting problems to solve. The front and back crotch curves fit but aren't distributed correctly. I had DH trace my outline onto paper so I could study my bumps and lumps. Next I will go back to my Wild Ginger software and draft some pants. I can make very fine fitting adjustments with that program and then they apply to everything else I draft. Handy! After the diet takes hold I can make changes as required (please, please, please).

Here are one of the 2 pairs of Wallis pants made so far. The other pair is gray and don't show up well. The Great P is waited with bated breath for me to wear these out in public. She has no sense of whimsy! It seems I do.

I've also finished all the embroidered blocks for my pup quilt. See those paw prints? There are 96 of them - 24 sets of 4. LD showed me a great trick for stitching 6 sets in one hooping. She is so smart!

Also, giving serious thought to a permanent kitchen couch. It leaves about 6 square inches of vacant floor space - but you stretch out with your tea, oatmeal and the paper. True comfort!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Kitchen Couch

It snowed. Lots and lots. I won't show you pics of how impressive it looks. Just check FB or whatever. It's quite the event! I am truly blessed. I have a great truck with excellent tires and 4WD. I have a warm house with lots of fabric and thread. I have DH who has a snowblower and knows how to use it. He looks so handsome when his eyebrows ice over. Truly!

I'm more concerned with how to locate and excavate the garbage and green bins. Bins are filling up in here, and I'm becoming concerned. The future may be smelly.

OK. One pic. This is a sight we saw last week while shopping for the furniture. The sun and warm had been making some headway. I'm wondering what it looks like now!

We have a couch in the kitchen now. We ordered furniture for the adjoining family room, and that led to new paint, and that led to drywall repairs, insulation, drywall replacement and much sanding. Then there was painting (and that ceiling need a freshening too). The floor hasn't been refinished and wouldn't that be nice. We are really looking forward to that furniture!

Meanwhile I can see why people would put a couch in the kitchen. If you read any novel with a Newfoundland setting (try Michael Crummy, he's excellent!) they always have a couch. It's comfy, great for chats and perfect when you can't be bothered to move. It's also really close to the fridge. Very handy. I think in Newfoundland it's meant for those who have had a bit too much rum and can't make it home. Ooooo! I'd like to try that! And now I can!

Now I'm going back to my sewing. Next post will be on pants and the FBA for pants. I didn't know I needed one down there! It was a rude awakening. The diet begins.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Smile! It will help to melt the ice.

Yes, we have had lots of snow. Yep, it then condensed into a black hole of ice dams, driveway glaciers and snowbanks that will not finish melting until....maybe June.

But the snow as it falls has been beautiful! The cold has been sharp and clear! We have more sun time in our day and this too will pass! May as well be happy and enjoy the pleasure hacking at ice with a pick can bring.

DH is putting finishing touches on his workshop. The hockey table is set up and I am learning to play. It's exhausting! All that yelling at the goalie takes everything I've got! I keep forgetting I have to move him myself. You'd think he'd just know!

It's good weather for quilts. Here is my latest. I think it looks better in real life. I made it extra long so the top can tuck under and over the pillows. Just a whim! The top looked a bit blah until the Great P chose a wild variegated thread and a lovely loopy quilting pattern. She is truly one with the long arm quilter now! She did an amazing job and I love it!

The strip on the back was an experiment. Next time I won't centre it and I will have it go all the way to both ends. The strip was actually part of the quilt top, but it then wouldn't fit on the quilting frame. I did get a bit carried away.


So now I'm working on another embroidered appliqué quilt. This one is called Mixed Mutts. It's just fun!

So now I am working on pants - also known as "the impossible fit' challenge. Tonight's discovery is that perhaps I need to add fabric at the crotch to make it smaller and less wrinkly. I seem to have a frowny front crotch (note, the pants!). This 3D visualization is very difficult. My head hurts a little.

The pants are a Style Arc pattern (Wallis) I downloaded from Etsy. Easy, cheap and fit together perfectly! I had tried out the Barb free download and could not get them to fit me. They were huuuuge! This time, on a whim I measured that little square they tell you to measure for accuracy's sake. I almost always do - and I tell people to check it. The Wallis pattern had to be scaled down to 86% to get it accurate! Wow! I take back all those bad thoughts I had about Barb's pants. I personally know the Barb those pants were designed for, and felt terrible I couldn't get them to fit. I may just pop back and give them another go - if I can get that fitting frown to disappear, and not transition into the dreaded smiley alteration.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

I Feel Much Sewing Coming On

JMN, take that! I have completed my January Block of the Month for Craftsy! How are you doing on your BOTM? I've seen nothing on your blog yet. What's up? Yes, I realize we are well into February and I'm only on January. I really do need to be a bit more prompt or I see disaster around the corner. Did you know we have TWO blocks due for February? I feel a bit panicky!

I decided to follow Jenny Beyers' directions. This meant hand sewing, template cutting and pressing after everything is sewn. I popped everything in a baggie and got some of it done on a recent trip to Montreal. I found the hand sewing relaxing and the corner matching was much easier! I can see why this is attractive to many people. I think I will follow her directions on assembly as it seems I will be trying lots of new things that way. Her videos are really well done and quite watchable!

I am not following her colour requirements. I just cut pieces from the half meters of batik I bought for this project. I don't have a background fabric designated and I don't include as many colour changes in a block as she requires. I will just cut as I feel and hope with fingers crossed that it all works out. She has you plop the block on the pressing mat and press from the right side, letting the seams fall where they may. I have never done THAT before, but it did seem to work beautifully. I wonder if this is only for hand piecing?

Now I am also working on a BOTM for Nancy Zeiman. She will also be introducing techniques and tools each month and the new block will be coming out on the 3rd. Saturday, so my homework will be staggered. Yah!

This month we did a Dresden plate block with strip piecing and alternating strip panels. The top of the panels were seamed to make a point and then the completed plate section was appliquéd with invisible thread. I got way too strippy on the panels. Perhaps if I measured before I sewed? She was working with 3 strips. I ended up with 5 to get the width I needed. If I had measured I could have made 3 work. Just wasn't thinking. 

Not too sure I like the invisible thread for the appliqué. It works, but I don't really like the look. Nancy hasn't shown us the whole quilt as Craftsy does, so I'm not sure how it finishes up. She does give you lots of ideas for using just that one block in many ways and advised pulling from scraps  of 3 colours (mine are red, beige and blue). I am using a colour for the background block - but I don't have that much of it and I don't know what I'll need - so this could get interesting. Looking forward to it! I made 2 blocks so I have options on completed quilt size.

I got the purse handles I have been waiting for in the mail today, so I will hopefully finish up my January purse this week and start my February purse too. This purse club is excellent, but I am going to need more days in the month. Many, many more days.

And I promised my SIN group I would sew clothing for me this month. We have dinner next Tuesday. 

If you're looking for me, I'll be in my sewing room.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Great P is Wise, So Wise, Again

Seen outside a local children's store - "Tutus for sale, locally made". Nothing brings a community closer than locally made tutus. Remember when 'imports' were a sign of prestige and quality? I like the way this pendulum is swinging. I still like the idea of on line shopping, but I love to buy local whenever I can. I also like the idea of celebrating our ability to produce quality products in our own backyard, and be proud of them. Yah us!

I finished a quilt today. It's lovely and I'm pleased with it. Pictures next time as I'm exhausted! It took about 1 1/2 hours to apply the binding! I like to use a blanket stitch to sew down the second side. It looks lovely and perhaps adds a bit of strength. However it took over one full bobbin of #50 thread and a very very long time to work my way around a small size quilt. It's still worth it, but I am amazed!

I machine quilted it at home and I'm getting much more comfortable with free motion quilting. On one square I tried little tiny wiggles in the centre square and then careful flower tracing in the border. Took longer, but it looked good.

Until I turned it over. Another lesson from the Great P greeted me on the other side. Always floss your top thread into the tension disk or it may not settle in nicely. When you free motion you don't need to raise the pressure foot to move around. However, if you don't raise the foot when you rethread, the tension disks are not open and ready to receive. The bottom was a sweet intense trail of little loopy stitches. Now the good part of loopy stitches is that they do pull out. That is a good thing, as there were a million of them.

Now, what do you do at the beginning and end of your free motion stitch line? Do you tack a few stitches on top of each other to fix the thread, or do you just sew? I tried both. When I tacked I then just cut the thread. When I just stitched away I went back and pulled all the threads to the backside and then pulled them into the quilt batting with a self threading needle.

And then the whole question of cotton vs poly thread. And thread weight. So many decisions!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Purses, Of Course.

Yesterday it was really cold, but sunny. When you looked out my kitchen window, in just the right way - you could see little sparkles of ice floating in the air. It looked like Jack Frost glitter! Beautiful!

It's raining purse patterns! I'm like a squirrel in a ripe oak tree. I signed up for the Bag of the Month Club.  My first pattern has arrived and I have it roughly together. I'm waiting for the purse frame to come from China. I need to get this finished before the February bag arrives in my email. Ahhh!!!!

Pellon is a great site for free patterns and they have added a new bag by Swoon, the Mabel! Look at that handle. It reminds me of the plastic handles that come in peach baskets. As I have a collection of those, I'll let you know if it works. If you 'Like' Swoon on Facebook you will see this bag in a variety of great versions.

Pellon also just added the Laney bag. It has classic good looks. I've seen it done in many versions (an actual use for Facebook) and would be good for spotlighting something neat on that centre panel.

Sew Sweetness has just posted the Baker Street bag. Her instructions are clear and you always learn something new. Love that Sara!

I did just finish a new Swoon bag. I used silk decorator samples, so each panel is a different colour way. I think it adds to the charm. There is a centre zipped pocket that pulls in the ends to make a fold and give the bag shape. I like it. The zipped section is only supposed to be attached at the end panels for about an inch. Talk about honesty in instructions! You are to 'wrangle' the whole business under the presser foot and try your best. Perfection is not guaranteed! Thank you! I can trust a designer like that!

I did put a few hand stitches in the bottom of the zipped section to tack it to the bag centre bottom seam. I'm not sure that was needed. Or maybe it would be better to sew both bottom seams together? I'll try it for a bit and reevaluate. However, the designer may be right in leaving it alone. When will I learn to trust?

This bag pattern was not free, but worth every penny of its bargain price. I will make it again. Although it may not look as if it will keep it's nice shape I think it will. It seems to get better every time I pick it up. I used a suit weight fusible interfacing on every piece of fabric and it seems to suit the silk without overpowering it. The handle tucks inside easily when you want to go 'clutch'.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Be a Blessing!

What a great weekend! I had my second curling night and had several rocks stay in play! Very exciting. Although it isn't nice to threaten the other team ("Don't touch that rock!") they were quite nice and apologetic when their play destroyed my efforts. My new curling shoes are just the ticket. They SLIIIIIDE.... beautifully. Need to practice more push in my slide.

Saturday DH and I were a checkpoint at a car rally. This means you sit in your car for 5 hours on a lonely, isolated dirt road in the total dark and wait for strange cars you don't know to drive up and stick their heads in your window. We had a lovely time! I brought a picnic and crocheted a washcloth using hemp. It makes for a nice exfoliation in the shower. 17 teams came through our checkpoint 3 times, and checked on my progress. DH remembered checkpoints from his youth where other crazy ladies sat with knitting. Ah, how the world turns! He never thought he'd marry that!

I'm trying to finish a quilt and further a second quilt along. I'm off to Montreal at the end of the month and want to finish one (OhLaLa!) for a niece. I have 13 nieces and nephews. Lots of quilts required! You should see a picture of this one soon.

Actually that's not true about the nieces and nephews. They don't require anything, dear sweeties. They are, however a great excuse for quilt making. They provide excellent justification. Some are actually having children of their own now. More excuse for sewing!

The second quilt is Jacobean Journey. It's embroidered and quilted 'in the hoop' on my embroidery machine. We are doing this at work as a group and I want to get half the blocks together so people can see what they are working towards. I'm getting the hang of it, but your eyes do cross occasionally as you have to match seams fairly precisely if you want it to lay flat and look good. It's a good place to use forked pins.

I think of myself as a somewhat spiritual person. I am not a church goer, nor am I anti church. We all need different things, I figure. However, when I pick up The Great P for work I get to read the local church signboard. I evaluate the message each time and discussion may follow. This week was excellent. The boys were right on. 'Be the blessing in 2015.' Think that through for a bit. What a positive and active message! Are you being a blessing? You'll know when you are. Take pleasure in it!

It also gives me the opportunity to inform people when they are NOT being a blessing! Keep that information to friends only. The non blessings don't understand or appreciate. Makes sense, eh?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Monkey Love

I could never permanently move to Montreal. Oh, I know. The sainted nieces and nephews are there. The baby sister is there. The Fabric Stores are there!!!! However, the Tim's don't serve steeped tea.

And that's a deal breaker for me. I cannot make a good cup of tea, regardless of how I try. Steeped Tim's tea is joy in a cup.

DH and I went curling Friday night for the first time, and bought curling shoes Saturday morning! Yes, we had a great time and are looking forward to Friday date nights. I even had a rock or 2 stay in the general area of the circle things. There seems to be a social drink afterwards. As we are already up past our bedtime of 10, we'll have to go the extra km to do the social necessity, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!

It's a new year and I have been organizing the sewing room and other crafting collections. It's been days and days and days, but I am feeling better and keen. The layers were getting a bit overwhelming.

Now I have organized mounds of UFO's. I will be tackling these in between new projects. That's the plan, as of now. First to the finish line ...

Ed The sock monkey! I haven't hooked in many years and went to a class with a friend. This is the kit I picked up there. I like hooking, but more as a means to an end. I like hooked rugs - therefore I will probably hook one or 2 to fit specific spots in the house. They'll have to be simple designs, as I don't and won't have the skills to go fancy. As you can see, Ed the Monkey is quite straight forward, but cute.