Monday, October 20, 2014

My Awesome Quilty Experience

I had the most amazing experience this past weekend representing my lovely little guild, The Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, at our very first quilt show at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst, N. S. 
Here is the link to the blogpost that I wrote for the Guild's blog page.  I hope you will stop by and check it out. 
 I also enjoyed the time I got to spend working along with Jeanette and Adrienne and Cathy and of course, my daughter, Nicola who tagged along with me and was a big help with keeping me organized.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Tweet gift!

Just had to show what my sweet Niece gave me as a thank-you gift for helping her with her wedding decorations.
It was totally my pleasure and we have some wonderful memories.  

A Don Miller birdhouse!  I love it and I have admired his birdhouses for a while.  He uses reclaimed items to create his one-of-a-kind birdhouses.   The base of this one looks like it may have come from an old china cabinet..  What a wonderful gift.

See my fairy door?  My sweet sister-in-law Allisen sent that to me all the way from Vancouver. I have had it for a few years and I think RetiredHub needs to give it a paint job and a bit of a sprucing up.  Now, with my new birdhouse,  not only the fairies have a place to go in my yard! 
love the wooden banners!  

 And also, she chose some great fat quarters and two mini-charm packs from Mrs. P's Emporium in Amherst.  How nice is that!

I am so happy to receive such a lovely, thoughtful gift and so very proud of my sweet Niece. love ya!

Monday, October 13, 2014


It's been a busy weekend. Our Thanksgiving meal is over.  My company has returned home.  Now I can concentrate fully on my next adventure.  Something new for me.  I am involved with setting up the very first quilt show of my lovely little guild...The Maritime Modern Quilt Guild.  Our Show is part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival and it will take place at Amherst Town Hall on Friday Oct. 17 and Saturday Oct 18 from 9 am til 4:30 each day. I will be there both days to be the face of MMQG and to answer questions.  You will see some amazing quilts.
It will be the first time that we will be showing off our amazing guild banner.  Adrienne, our President, took charge of designing the banner as well as coordinating the members contribution of blocks and then sewing them into a top and then  I did the freemotion quilting.  A signature block from each member who contributed was incorporated into the design of the backing.  Another member did the binding.  It was a wonderful group effort in such a timely manner and I am very proud to be part of it.  So, I hope you will stop by and visit our display and make sure to say hello to me.  
You can go here and see some nice shots of our banner. 

The Wedding Quilt Progress.   

I have the backing all ready to go.  I added two blank signature blocks just in case the late comers follow through and decide they want to be included.  If not, I can just write something on the blank ones.  Now to get it basted and ready for quilting.  It will be a challenge..but I am up for it.  Anything for my wonderful niece.
Hard to get a decent shot in my backyard....too many trees causing shadowing
I hope to see you in Amherst.  The Festival is an amazing 5 day event that all Nova Scotians should be very proud of.  This will be my 5th time attending but my very first time being involved and I am so excited!

And, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you managed to get some quilting done the past few days.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


That's a strange post title on a quilting blog, I know!  But there is a story and it does end up to be quilting related so, hang in there!  Who doesn't love a quilt with a story!

I am very proud of where I grew up, where my ancestors, on both sides of my family, settled and have lived for many generations.   I am going to tell about just one of many aspects of this place, this Prospect, Nova Scotia, CANADA

We call it "THE STAGE" aka, Grandad's Stage, Jack's Stage etc....  It has been photographed so many times over the years, painted by artists.  A.Y. Jackson spent time painting in Prospect, Stanley Royle too.  W.R. MacAskill took photos in the Village as well.

Photo with permission by Ashley Coombs Photography  
The Stage was part of my childhood and dates back to the early 1800's.  It passed through many hands, most of them my relatives. The last owner in my family was my uncle, my Dad's brother.  It was during this time that the "S" went missing.  Only a select few know the story of how it disappeared.  I can't divulge the secret today, but maybe sometime in the future I will spill the beans!

The "For Ale" sign is completely gone now.  The new owners removed it. Too bad.  Looks like they are trying to fix it up though.

So, getting to the quilty connection, As I was visiting a quilt show in Pictou, NS this past spring, I walked past a vendor's table full of fabulous quilt patterns.  The vendor was well-known Nova Scotia quilt artist Karen Henry.  I was introduced to Karen by a friend.  We spoke for a bit and as I turned to walk away, out of the corner of my eye, I saw "For Ale".  Whoa, back up...there was a pattern of "The Stage"!

  So of course, I mentioned my connection to Karen right away and she was happy to hear that I knew all about it.  She told me her father had taken the photo that she made her pattern from but he wasn't sure where he had taken the photo.  Mystery solved.
Of course I bought the pattern complete with the fabrics to recreate Karen's design.  How cool is that!
Can't wait to get working on it. 

 I found The Stage in a lovely hooked rug here 

Taken while used by lobster fishermen
This photo is taken from the yard of the house I grew up in.  As kids, we would all swim across to "The Stage" and back again. 
If interested in the History of Prospect, which dates back to the 1750's, here is the link to the Prospect Genealogical Website 

Thanks for stopping by!

"Sticky Nine-Patch"

The quilt top that I sewed up a few days ago, used a Layer Cake.  You can read about it here

 That's a precut package of 42 x 10 inch squares of fabric.  The quit top used 30 of the 42 squares and 12 of these 10 inch squares needed to be trimmed to 9 1/2 inches, so I had a nice little pile of 1/2" strips.  Couldn't throw them away now could I! .  So here is what I came up with.  I call it "Sticky Nine-Patch" lol  A 14" toss cushion.
There are still 12 squares left so I plan on making a giant pinwheel quilt from those.
"Sticky Nine-Patch"

I raw-edge appliqued the "sticks" on to leftover Kona Snow squares from the same project.  Sewed them into a nine-patch configuration and free motion quilted the wavy lines.   I didn't have a cushion form to fit perfectly, so I remembered that my quild mate, Dominique, had addressed this problem by creating a flange. Great idea! Problem solved.
A look at the back.  I always like to use a selvedge on the back of cushions that I make.  The Perfect Place!

Since I mentioned selvedges, check out the giveaway on It's Sew Time facebook page today.  The prize is an amazing project book with lots of ideas on how to use up all the selvedges you have been saving.  I know I have a ton! 

Also, tomorrow is the October meeting of my lovely little guild, The Maritime Modern Quilt Guild
If you are looking for a great group of quilters to hang out with, why not come join us.  We would love to see you!
Lots of exciting quilting going on!  Get in touch if you need further info. 

I am linking up with The Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wednesday.  Stop by and check out all the Canadian Quilty Goodness.

I hope you have time to get some quilting done today and have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's Happening!

I am really motivated these days and I am working on several projects at once.  I am still waiting for a few signature blocks to get back to me so that I can finish up the backing for The Wedding Quilt.
I am thinking I will just go ahead and applique any creative!  I do want to have this finished for the newlyweds first Christmas. 
So while I was working on that yesterday, I made another quilt top from a Kate Spain "Horizon" Layer Cake.  I wanted to get my hands on some of this fabric line to make a new quilt for my daughter. I saw it on KS's website and knew my daughter would love this colour combo.  I picked it up at It's Sew Time on Friday and came home and started looking for a pattern that would make good use of the layer cake.  I hate to cut pre-cuts down too much so this large star pattern from Moda fit the bill for me.  Here is the link to the instuctions.
The pattern uses 30 of the 42 - 10" precut squares.  I will use the remaining 12 on the back.   It went together really quickly.  I used Kona Snow for the background squares.  Think I will bind it in the dark blue shade that is used in the centre.  It measures 72" square.  Not sure how I will quilt this one yet...

I finished up the quilting on my Quilty Sister's red and green maple leaf quilt. I hate to even show you how it turned out.  I did not enjoy working on this and I blame it all on the batting.  It is a real mess! I quilted it kicking and screaming all the way.  I used a Quilter's Dream poly batting.  Just thought we would give it a try.  The stretching was incredible and I have puckers all over the place.   I should have stopped five minutes into the quilting but noooo...I had to keep going and just couldn't face unsewing all that machine quilting.  Enough whining...It was the wrong project for this batting. I still have to bury a few threads and bind it and then put it to use.  Quilty Sister will love it, I know! 

Hope you get time to get some quilting done today!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sheila's Postcard Swap

Another one of Sheila's Postcard Swaps has come and gone for me and my partner.  Pauline in UK was my partner and here is the postcard I sent to her:

And here is the postcard that she sent to me, it arrived yesterday.  Thanks to Pauline for being my partner. Love it!
As you probably figured, Fall was the theme of the swap. 

I love participating in Sheila's swaps.  It's the only swap I  get involved in.  Everyone does such a great job making these little works of art.    And I now have a wonderful collection of fabric postcards.  When I get time, I plan on making them into a nice display in my sewing room. Thanks to Sheila for organizing the swap and I can't wait for the next one. 

I have finally finished my Toothbrush Rug.  I started work on it this past June.
It took a lot of fabric strips to make this. I could have kept going and it would have been bigger but I had enough and just wanted it done and on the floor.  It looks really nice by my front door.  It measures 36" round  

Hope you found time to do something quilty today,

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Progress Report

Three months are left in the Library Challenge and I am pretty proud of myself at this point.  All I have left to do to complete my personal commitment, is to machine quilt Pick #2 from the pattern "Diamonds" by Allison Jane Smith.I have called mine "Christmas Diamonds".  4 out of 5 of my picks are complete and in use!

Here is my Happy Scrappy Hexies.  This is Pick #5.  This one will be my summer picnic/car quilt.   It was such fun to make. 
I used a fat quarter pack of 12 Amy Butler "Soul Blossom" and 12 different Kona solids.  On the back I used a Riley Blake turquoise/white chevron.  

 I am linking up with Adrienne over @Chezzetcook Modern Quilts for the monthly progress report of the Library Challenge.  Stop by and check it out.  See how everyone is progressing.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Happy Accident!

I am pretty sure this isn't how the pattern for this fabric basket was meant to look....but I like it!  It serves a purpose.

It is now a fat quarter holder!  I think I will incorrectly make a few more.  Hey Beginner Quilters...even those of us with a ton of experience make mistakes.. so don't take it to heart!  You are not the only one and it is OK!

The winner is.....

Thanks to all my blogging buddies who sent me such wonderful, thoughtful best wishes on the occasion of my first published pattern.  It has been an amazing experience! 

The winner of my giveaway of the Fall issue of Quilter's Connection Magazine is......MARJORIE!  I just sent her an email and will send her the magazine soon as I hear back with her mailing address.

Hope you get time to do something quilty today!  


Friday, September 19, 2014

FMQing away!

I started the freemotion quilting on the quilt I spraybasted the other day.  You can read about it here.
The quilt top belongs to my QuiltySister.  She was involved in a block swap at her quilt group when she lived in Kuala Lumpur.  Her swap partner lived in British Columbia, I think.  She received 5 blocks and didn't know what to do with them so when she visited me from  Doha, Qatar this  summer, she and I worked on getting the blocks set into an arrangement for a small quilt.  And, guess who got to do the quilting.  I want to get this done and off my list asap.
because my nephew, her middle son, will be visiting me from Saint John, NB, for Thanksgiving and I am hoping to  he will be able to take it to her when he goes to Doha for Christmas. This quilt gets around!

I also want to remind you that if you haven't entered my giveaway already, you can go here to check it out.  I will be choosing a winner later today.

Hope you have time to do something quilty today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How I spray baste

Spent 20 minutes earlier this morning getting another flimsy ready to machine quilt.  RetiredHub and I donned our breathing masks and spray-basted on my design wall.    I can't do this without him!  I'm too short and you need a second set of hands. 
I decided to take a few photos during the process to show how we do it, not the greatest photos but hopefully you will get the idea. I have had a few quilty friends wanting to know.  I have seen it done on Youtube videos but I think the way we do it is a bit different and easier to manage a larger piece.(and fun!)  I have basted larger ones before in this manner than the one I am showing today.  Of course, the size of quilt you can baste  is limited to the ceiling height of the wall you are able to use. 

I hate to pin for machine quilting because it takes too long and it interferes with my free motion quilting.  I tried hand basting once to see what that was like...never do that again!  It's almost like quilting the whole thing before you quilt the whole thing!   because I found I needed to make smaller stitches so that the foot didnt catch on them.  Spray basting  has its pros and cons too.  I am usually very happy with the outcome so I make sure I pay attention to the cons. Especially Con#1. Very Important!

Con #1 - It's glue....your lungs don't do well glued together!  Wear a mask (I wear two masks)  and open a window or two, ventilation is a must.  Follow the directions on the label.
Con #2 - It's crazy expensive.  At least here in Nova Scotia
Con #3 - It will get on your floor so put down a drop cloth (and don't trip on your drop cloth. ask me how I know!)

Pro #1 - It's fast! and I like fast these days.  I need to get things done, done, done!

How I use my Design Wall for spray-basting quilts

I have an old flannel  double bed sheet stapled to my wall, from floor to ceiling,  nice and taut. It is in a hallway in my basement, my mostly unfinished basement, so I don't worry about marking the wall or hurting anything. 

Step #1 -  place your nicely ironed backing piece wrong side up on the wall, straight as possible. Sometimes I even iron it on the wall!  Just run a dry iron quickly over it to get rid of any wrinkles.  The flannel sheet is behind so it doesnt hurt the wall.  If my backing is pieced or is directional design, in order to get it straight, I make a centre top, bottom and side marks on the flannel sheet, just beyond the backing,so I can see to line it up. 
RetiredHub gets out his trusty carpenter's level to make sure it is as straight as possible. For this one,  I just eyeballed it . 

 Step #2 -  Attach the batting (I use push pins) just along the very top.  I always give myself lots of extra with the backing and batting and then I can trim later.  I have no problem using up leftover bits of backing and batting for small projects.  Make a nice pillow to go with the quilt!

Step #3 -  This is where the second set of hands comes in....have your helper bring the backing up from the bottom and out, so that you can spray the adhesive directly on the backing about 1/3 of the way from the top.  Now let the backing fall down and gently pat it onto the backing, smoothing as necessary.  Then repeat for the next 1/3....spray, drop, smooth and then finish up with the same process on the remaining 1/3.  Your batting should be nicely attached to your backing with no lumps or bumps. I spray lightly and quickly as I snake across and back over the surface. 
This is the point where I was about to get right in under there and spray the top 1/3 of the backing.  The spray basting adhesive is repositionable so don't worry, it can be lifted a bit  and smoothed again if you don't like it.  How do you like my Scrap Corner? It looks a mess but it is organized.. by colour.

Step #4 -  Now, repeat with your nicely ironed quilt top. This is where I would find the centre top, bottom and sides of the quilt top and make sure those points matched the registration marks I made when positioning the back) Using the push pins to secure at the very top of the quilt top, spray the batting in the same manner and continue as in the last step. Works like a charm!  Now I will just trim around and make it neater, maybe run the iron quickly over it to set and take out any wrinkles and then quilt away! Another project on it's way to completion.  I like that!

Thanks RetiredHub!  You are my basting hero!  Can I have your Man-Cave for my Scrap Room?  Something for you  to think about.

Hope this all makes sense and that I haven't forgotten anything.  Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. And if you give it a try, I would love to know. 

and hope you get time to work on something quilty today! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

My First Pattern Published!

How cool is this!!  I have been waiting to see my pattern for my Colour Columns Cushion in print for a while.  And it is here now!  WooHoo! Copies are available at quilt shops.  I got mine at Atlantic News on Morris St in Halifax.  I think they ordered a few copies more than usual for this edition.

I would like to thank Heather McArthur, Editor/Publisher of Quilter's Connection Magazine for including my pattern in the Fall 2014 issue. A quilt magazine for Candian Quilters! I was so pleased with how my article looked when I opened the magazine. It has been  such a pleasure, Heather!  Maybe I will start working on designing something new!

I would also like to thank most especially, Karen Neary.  Karen suggested my pattern to Heather and got the ball rolling and helped me do the finetuning involved in writing a quilt pattern.  I had no experience, and needed lots of help and am very grateful to my dear friend and fellow Nova Scotian.  Of course, Karen is an expert since she has written tons of patterns and books etc.  Just look on the cover of this magazine and you will see her amazingly beautiful quilt, "New York, New York", with all the instructions inside to make it for yourself. Check out Karen's website for lots more patterns and inspiration. Karen's quilt will be one of the grand prizes at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst, NS, October 14th - 18th.  I bought my ticket! 


To celebrate, I am giving away a copy of this issue of Quilter's Connection Magazine.  I just ask that you leave me a comment, any comment, on this post,  and that you are a follower of my blog.  I will choose a winner on Friday, Sept 19 and announce that winner the next day.  Remember to make sure I have a way to respond to you if you are the winner.    My Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who visited and thanks for all the lovely comments. 

Fun fact.... Beside Karen and myself, also in this issue, an article by Kaaren Johnston, a fellow Nova Scotia quilter.  Three's the charm! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Getting a start on a finish

Today, I started work on making the backing for my niece's wedding quilt. I don't have an absolute plan, I am improv piecing with the signature blocks.  It will be a surprise to me when it is finished!  I love improv piecing.

 I joined up with Sheila @ Sheila's Quilt World for her recent Fall themed postcard swap.  I have been given my swap partner's name and I have checked out her blog to get a few ideas of what kind of postcard she may like.  I have a good idea of what I will make for her.  Thanks to Sheila for organizing this fun swap.  It is always great to get to make a new quilty friend.

Speaking of awesome little guild, the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, had a zippered pouch swap at our recent meeting.  Here is the pouch that I came home with.   Love it!  I already have it filled with all my fabric markers.  I didnt get a photo of the one that I made to swap, my camera had been on the blink.  Maybe Anja, who chose my pouch will have a nice shot of it that I can use.  Stop by her blog and see her latest quilt top, Grey Square Scramble.   I am in love with it! 

Hope you had time to do something quilty today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's Happening!

I have been so busy lately that my blogging has gone on the backburner.  I am really behind and I hope to catch up over the next few days.  I have plans for a few special posts in the near future. 

I did manage to get together with our friend, Tyler, before he leaves for school in Newfoundland, to give him the quilt I made for him.  He was very touched and he appreciated all the work that went into it.  It will keep him warm this winter.  The photo is horrible.  I only had my cellphone.  You can see why I had to make the quilt longer!  Tyler sure makes me look very short.  Guess I am.  He is almost a foot and a half taller than me!

Remember all the sewing I was doing for my niece's wedding?  Well, the wedding took place this past weekend and everything looked just wonderful.  Here is a shot of the head table with the burlap and lace runner and the flags I made. 

The quilt guest book went over really well and I now have lots of signature squares to incorporate into the design for the backing of the wedding quilt. 

And here she is....She was so beautiful, I cried a lot...when I gave the Toast to the Bride I had everyone crying, even the men!  
The happy couple 

I spent a bit of time today at my machine.  First time in almost a week!  I made a zippered pouch for my guild swap next month.  I have lots of sewing that needs to get done in the near future.  A few deadlines.  More on this soon. 

I hope you had time to do something quilty today!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Report - The Library Challenge.

Put your sunglasses on!  This is a bright one!

 I having been working on my #5 commitment for the Library Challenge off and on since last month. If you haven't already, you can go here to see my choices.  I have switched out my original #5 commitment for this one.   This is going to be my picnic/car quilt so I am taking a bit of creative sewing license here.
After raw edge appliqueing the large and small hexagon to the 17 1/2" background square, I layered each one with a scrap piece of batting and freemotion quilted spirals in the centres.  Then I sewed the 12 squares together into a top.  I sewed the squares together, batting included.  I will press them open and then probably quilt on either side of the seam lines to hold everything  down nice and flat.   The next step will be to add a backing and then do more freemotion quilting to hold it all together.  I really like how is is going so far.  Great way to use up all those odd pieces of batting.  And I also used different matching colours of thread on each block and that helped me clear out a bunch of odd bobbins. 
Amy Butler "Soul Blossoms" and Kona Solids
Have you ever made a quilt for your car? 

I am linking up with Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts.  Stop by!

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Country Snowflake"

It has been a week of intense sewing for me. Today,  I was able to finish up the pieced top for my niece's wedding quilt .  Phew! What a pile of sewing.  The pieced border was very labour intensive but so worth it. And I can't even convey how happy I am with the way my sewing went.  I give all the credit to my new 1/4" foot.  I didn't have to fudge anything throughout.  I didn't even have to trim the 12 1/2" pieced star blocks, they came out perfectly. The borders went on perfectly too.  Seriously, I have made lots of large bed quilts over the years and this is the first time that everything has gone so smoothly for me. So smoothly.   The hardest part will be basting this one together.  I can't do that until after the wedding because I will be piecing the backing with squares signed by all the wedding guests.  The wedding is Aug. 23, so not much longer.  I am really anxious to get quilting this one although I know it will be tough on my home machine.  I will just take it slow and easy. It measures 80" x 106"

And, a personal best.... I didn't start another project in the middle of making this!  But I definitely need to get back to my scrappy quilting.  I am just not a four fabric girl!
 PS..This quilt is called "Country Snowflake" because I used the pattern, "Snowflake" designed by Trudie Hughes, and because it will live in the country, on a farm, in rural New Brunswick. 

Hope you had time to get some quilting done today. 
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Quilty Fun Day

Sheila and Suzanne having fun!
Yesterday was a quilty fun day for me.  I drove to Pictou for the annual Northumberland Quilt Guild's Show and Sale and to meet up with my friends, Lesley, Karen and Sheila.  Together we are also known as..The Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet!  We are from Arichat,  Port Hawkesbury, New Glasgow and Halifax.

left to right - Sheila, Karen, Lesley and Me

We all met online, through blogging,  about two years ago  and decided to try to get together from time to time to attend quilt shows or just hang out.  My daughter, Nicola and my good friend Suzanne tagged along too.
We toured the quilt show and shopped at the vendor's mall.  There were lots of quilts to admire.  It was nice to see that many were handquilted.  I find the lighting isn't the best for quilt photography in the deCoste Centre so some of my photos didn't turn out so well.  Here is an example of what we saw. 

I have more to tell  about my day but that will have to wait til tomorrow.  I need to get back to my sewing before bedtime.  I finished up all the major cutting for Katherine's wedding quilt and have all the strip sets sewn and ready for subcutting.  Then it is on to piecing the blocks.  Lots to do! 

Hope you had a quilty day and got some time to sew.