Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beauregard -- Chicken Shaman

On one of our trips to Kalispell, MT, I found a pattern for Elinor Peace Bailey's "Chicken Shaman" at Quilt Gallery . They had a sample all made up and I fell in love with it! The pattern sat in my sewing room for a year and I needed a challenge that was a bit "different" than quilting! This post is loaded with photo's.I had questions when I was following the pattern as there were limited directions (I am a picture person). I found the internet was lacking on the details and only found the finished product. Thank God for Beth Watts of Fabric Chicks who helped me with "WRT" (with right sides together). Let it be known I am NOT a doll maker in any sort of the word and I just "wing it" with patterns! The last toy item I made was a simple frog full of rice. There was no depth or detail. So with that said, my photo's are here for anyone who wants to tackle this project so they can look at the details. It took me a couple of good days working on him but the outcome was so worth it! My daughter-in-law gave me the whole series of "Greys Anatomy" to watch, so I was in my happy place in so many ways!
My sewing room was a mess! I had many cups of coffee, but boy did I have fun!
I added some new yarn to bling out his tail feathers!
Chef and I went to Michaels to pick up some beads ("A few," I told him!) Sixty-seven dollars later I have enough beads to do about 20 more!
I even blinged out his feet a bit
I used beads to cover up the "boo boo's" from my lack of doll-making talent!
I had no idea how to attach the leg into the claw so I just went with it and blinged out my stitches that were showing! Trust me, these photo's will help those of you wanting to make one yourself. It really is forgiving and the bling helps you cover ALOT!
Fuzzy pic, sorry. The challenging part were the "joints". I had different buttons, but it wouldn't let me "position" the legs as it was not hinging at the knees. I am not thrilled with the buttons, but at least they work!
His wings are position-able as well. They are a bit floppy - I think the next one I would use a stiffer fusible -- what do they call it? The white board stuff you can use for your purses -- keeps the shape, but you can still quilt through it! Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the outcome here, but just saying....the next one I'd use different fusible. I don't know if you stuffed in addition whether it would be a look you would like. Do a mock wing and try it out and see what look you like the best! Of the photo's I've seen, some were joined with one button on the very back. I positioned them on the sides with a button on each wing.
The tail feathers were the last! I had so much fun. I added real feathers (sewn), as well as beads here and there. Of course there are more buttons on the back of his um.... bum... but very impressive tail feathers. Chef name him "Beauregard" because he is just not quite sure that this rooster is into hens or ahem....other roosters My apologies to the Beauregard's that are straight out there! Beau is here to stay! He'll be spending time in the kitchen to watch over Chef and maybe will take a trip to the sewing room to watch over me! Being a "Shaman", he is sure to bring in the good and chase out the bad!

Do something different this week! Take on a challenging project -- whether it be a Christmas stocking stuffer, a mug rug for a friend, passport cover for the traveller in your life, or maybe a "Beauregard" to watch over your creative juices!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

ps to my something creative! Do something you've never tried before! It's ok to make mistakes... you never know what you will learn from it!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pink Chalk Fabric = Goodies!

I love Pink Chalk Fabrics! Of course with anything, there is a little story! I live in Canada -- I love shopping at my local quilt shops, but sometimes the costs are prohibitive. I want the best value for my dollar. Thus, I do order from the U.S., and I have had nothing but great service with Pink Chalk Fabrics. I browse their site on a regular basis and when the mood strikes, I order. Well to make a long story short (before I show you my goodies!), I placed my order. When the final bill was processed, the shipping was "almost" as much as my whole order! I had a fit! Here I thought that I had a great deal, but with the shipping, was it really worth it?
So, I emailed the gals and had a fit. OK, well not a fit, but asked why it was so expensive and I was thinking hard about whether it was worth it or not ordering from the U.S. It's good thing I asked! Apparently, the orders automatically "estimate" a shipping charge. It was reviewed and of course adjusted as my order was able to fit in a small shipping envelope which greatly reduced the shipping charge. Now THAT is what I call service. Less than 15 minutes after I fired off my email, I got a response! Yeah! So word to the wise, or the penny-pincher (like I am)....ASK. Apparently shipping costs for "notions" are somewhat higher. The notions that I ordered were small and fabric order was not outrageous, so they were able to reduce the shipping costs! My rule of thumb -- if I can order it on line with the shipping costs and it is substantially cheaper than getting it here -- I will order on line. Don't get me wrong -- I do support my local quilt shops on a regular basis, but if I find something that I can wait for and it's going in my "Rainy Day Stash", in goes my order!
Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda and Barcelona by Brigitte Heitland for ZEN CHIC for Moda.
Robert Kaufman Classic Threads Small Stripe Primary (great for those bindings!) This is the panel from Michael Miller Fabrics - Norwegian! I can not tell you how many times I looked at this! One minute I was drawn to it and the next I had no idea what I would have done with it! The more I looked at it the more I thought it would be perfect in my stash and one day I would find something perfect to use it for! Chef was a dear and held it up for me so I could take a photo of it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

In memory of Remembrance day .... where does the time go?

I was watching the news today on an American channel where the news anchor was saying "Happy Remembrance Day everyone?" Chef and I looked at each other. It was a shock to me really, considering that I don't feel that Remembrance Day is a "happy" occasion. I am humbled by all the men and women who have lost their lives in order to allow me to live in a safer world. I am not "happy" celebrating their death, but I am THANKFUL for the sacrifices that they made for us. Now when I switched to a Canadian channel -- the news anchor did not wish us a "Happy" any kind of day, but reminded us to Remember all of those who sacrificed their lives for us. I bowed my head and said a silent prayer thanking all those, including my Grandfather who lost his life in the Second World War when the Germans bombed his little village. I am thankful for my dad who served two years in the army, and all my cousins overseas who also served in the army. It is through the Good Grace of God that we have not suffered loss any other family as a result of war and service for their country. Many years later, our countries still fight, we continue to lose good men and women who fight for their country. It will never be a Happy Remembrance Day for me, but one filled with sadness and profound gratitude for the sacrifice of others. I will never forget.
So much time has passed and I have not been blogging! GOOD news though! I have been reading all your blogs and am so thankful to you all! What motivation! What amazing creativity! I feel so humbled by you all! I don't know what it is! I come home from work I am just exhausted. The only motivation I have is to read blogs and take mental notes of things I would like to do! Without further delays, I do have a finish I surprised Chef with. I am in love with black and white bindings. I have no idea what it is. Could it be the element of not matching and being totally different than the whole project? Chef did help me pick out the fabric for the binding. My first choice was a text, and I found out that he totally "hates" text for fabric. Who knew?! I love the backing fabric. So full of colour and totally like Chef with his garden every year. He wants the garden full of colour and variances. We have such a short growing season, the quilt will surely brighten up those dreary winter days! I did surprise him with a new computer as well for his birthday, so I think he was fairly shocked when I gifted this one to him. We have been "sharing" our Arizona quilt, but now we each have a quilt to wrap in (since I was seriously hogging the one)
I love poofy quilts! It's so much better after the first wash! So comforting! This is the quilt from my Mystery Quilt weekend with Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club. Karen, my longarmer, did a fabulous job (as always!) I am NOT a pre-washer. The fabric on the back has a lot of white to it, but believe it or not -- no running of colours. I bought some of those colour catchers that go into the wash machine and just went with it. If it ran, it would, and I would be sorely disappointed, but regardless it would still be a cozy quilt! I was thrilled that all those wonderful colours showed through, even through the wash!
I wish I was more productive and could give her more work! But alas, I am not as productive as I could be. I need to prioritize again and spend more time in my beautiful studio! I have everything I need in there, except Chef. In the evenings, he and I sit and review the day and watch some television. I usually have my computer on my lap and browse those quilting blogs and every now and again I ask him what he thinks of the colours of some quilts, or we laugh at some jokes that are posted.
Every time I post, I vow to be more productive! Maybe I just have to keep posting so I have something to post about! ha ha! If you all have any ideas on how to keep "sewing" and have a good balance of "blogging" and "sewing", I would love to hear all about it! Happy Quilting everyone! I am off to start sewing on my Shaman Chicken by Eleanor Peace Bailey -- it may not be a "quilt" but "creative" none the less! I just came down here to collect my pin cushion!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hexagon madness! Flower Power! (heavy in photo's)

I am always working on one project or another! I vowed that our kids would each get a quilt made by me. One down and four more to go (quilts that is!!) The hexagon quilt is for my youngest. She's a quilter as well but hates, detests, can't stand....hand sewing! Anything that has to do with hand sewing is a vehement "NO THANKS!" ha ha! Good thing that I love hand sewing and I know that she will appreciate all the work that goes into this!
My stack with so many more to make!

This is a freezer paper hexie ironed on to fabric and then trimmed as close to 1/4" as possible (give or take....a bit bigger is a bit better!)

Use a glue stick and paste on one side of the hexie on the fabric (don't worry if you get any on your giner/ washes off/ or the paper as you will be pulling out the papers down the road)
Fold down over the edge of the paper and press firmly down from one end to the other.
make sure that you have the edges down as well as your next step will include folding the next corner down.
This is where you glue the next side to the right of the one you just glued -- or if you are left handed, you will be gluing the side to the left of the one you just glued!
Make sure you press down firmly (ignore my horrible cuticles and nailes.... I am not a girly girl when it comes to my hands!) When you press down firmly, you get nice crisp edges and nice sharp corners!
You can see in this photo that the glue is even on the edge of my finger -- trust want it to be right to the edge of that fabric so that it holds! Remember, this glue will wash out and the papers will come out once all the hexies are sewn!
This is your ready-to-go hexie!
I've used all kinds of glue! My favorite is Sewline -- it's white and has a smaller tip. My next fav is the glue stick, but it's larger and I have to wash my hands more often. My last choice is Fons & Porter -- which is blue and really sticky/goopey to get off -- but works fine on the hexies. Try them and see which one you prefer!
A fuzzy pic of the hexies ready to be sewn!

The hole-punch hexies make for easier removal when you are ready to pull them out. The hexie papers above I was not going to waste!
 If you have questions, please don't hestitate to ask. I can't guarantee an instant response, but if you email me at -- it will get you a faster response than just in the comment section (I'm not a great consistent blogger as you can tell!) My hexies are on white freezer paper. I cut them out and iron them onto 2.5" strips of all different cotton fabric that I have collected. I use scraps, purchased jelly rolls and fabric that I've cut myself on the Accuquilt. I have even used charm squares (but find that I cannot consistently get 6 hexies for my flowers, so I tend to just cut enough hexies for my center squares.) Find a hexie size that you like. There are tons of free printables on line, or you can draw a bunch of your own on graph paper and photocopy. When you photocopy -- make sure you copy on the SAME photocopier for all your hexies. Photocopiers vary. I print out my "master" sheets that I will use to cut my freezer paper out on. I then fold my freezer paper to match the size of the photocopied paper. I then staple in the center of EACH hexie. I cut (with paper scissors, each pile of hexies. I find that each stapled bunch that I can manage easily is the master top sheet plus 4 layers of freezer paper. Once all the hexies are cut out -- I hole punch each bunch and then remove the staple from each bunch, tossing the top hexie out (some die-hards will put a dot of glue on the center and put it on fabric -- I'm too lazy and just want to place the wax side down of the freezer paper hexies and iron them on! When sewing together, use s small whipstitch. Some people use the same colored thread to match the flowers they are sewing. I use a neutral color and find that my stitches are small enough that you don't notice the thread. Of course you are going to use what you are comfortable with. Some people want to use only cotton, some people will use a polyester. Again, it is your choice. If your quilts are going to be inspected by the quilt police, you already know what the expectations are! ;-) As for needles -- my absolute favorite are Clover Black Gold Needles specifically for applique/sharps (no.12). They are specially polished with Black plating. These needles pierce through fabric "effortlessly"! I totally am hooked on these! Considering that you have glue AND fabric to go thorugh -- they just glide right through! When you can sew without any hitches, you can work on getting those nice tiny whipstiches! If you have to pay a little extra, it is worth it! If you would like to see how I prep my hexagon's before I get them to fabric, let me know! Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Learning Free Motion and another project down!

Well my last post was misisng the free motion quilting photo's! I tried to upload them and had nothing but trouble! But VOILA! Here they are! I am "learning". So there are a lot of boo boo's that I can see, but a non-quilter will be just fine with them. The baby recipient's will drag them around nonetheless, so all is good!

The twins have an older sister that I could not leave out. This little project was fun and took under an hour to complete. I started with random piecing of squares. Put it together like you would a little table runner. I then quilted it. Finishing was simple. Round the corners, put binding on only one edge, fold over your "runner" and then pin binding all around the whole piece. DONE! I think that the little twin pups love their new home!

The last of the project is now complete and can be delivered to their new respective owners!
Now on to a new project!

What are you working on??

Friday, August 30, 2013

Free motion experiments and another couple of projects

I'm happy that another one of my "projects" is now finished and delivered! My co-worker and his wife were expecting their second little boy. He arrived safe and sound a couple of weeks ago and proud Daddy is going on Paternity Leave for 6 weeks! My how times have changed! Mom and Dad will be with the little one for 6 weeks bonding and then Mom will take the balance of the year maternity leave allowed in canada! Here's a shot of the new blankie! I hope that it's dragged around everywhere and much loved! Dad knows how to speak French, so I thought I would toss in some French verbage and of course a little of "France" on the backing flannel!
It's a good thing I have these baby quilts to practice my free motion on. The first set for the twins I used a simple stipple and on this one I tried a dot to dot free motion pattern. I was having issues with eyelashes on the back, so I changed threads and tried Magic Bobbin Washers .. still had issues. I then started changing needles and re-reading lessons on free-motion quilting with stitch length, feed dogs up, feed dogs down and then finally was successful with changing my needle to a microtech. The first baby quilt was with Hobb's Cotton. I had no issues with the quilting portion at all. The "French" quilt used a polyester batting that I had as I ran out of the Hobb's. I'm thinking that the polyester is what caused the problems! Live and learn! Happy Quilting!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Babies, Babies everywhere!

Remind me not to drink the water at work! My past assistant (she was "my" girl who was amazing and found all things that were lost and could do a job before I even asked!) has had twin boys! Now that girl knows how to do it and get it done and over with! The biggest compliment I got was her reporting her little girl (now almost 4) drags her "blankie" everywhere! Well of course the twins had to have their own "blankies" as well! The pattern was found enclosed with my Accuquilt GO! small tumbler die. It was super easy to make! I found some great fabric from Pink Chalk Fabrics!( ). I used Anne Kellie's Urban Zoologie Turles and Owls! A while ago I also ordered one of Pink Chalks specials on solids that were a perfect fit for these projects! Did I mention how much I love ordering from Pink Chalk? The cozy flannel on the backside will be super-soft the more it's broken in! My stippling is something to be desired, but I continue to practice!
A "shout-out" to Beverly of -- she suggested on one of her comments to cut stripes on a bias for the binding. Well I had some great black on white "text" of ""sewing words. I deliberately cut the fabric so that you could not see the words/ You can see the "letters" instead. It worked out great! Thanks Beverly! I wouldn't have tried it without your suggestion! Don't you love the blogging world?! It appears one my co-workers wife drank the office water a number of months ago and lo' and behold there is yet another "baby" arrival in the world!! I think I should just start making baby quilts in bulk! (Ok I have to fess DID make me go and purchase another Accuquilt die! I bought the larger tumbler die so I can start churning out more baby quilts! ha ha!) Happy Quilting everyone!

Monday, August 12, 2013

FART completed and Fishing Tournament won by "The Girls"!!

For the past three years, Chef and I have been participating in a family fishing tourney in Manitoba with my dear sister-in-law (Chef's sister) and family! Every time we go, we have such a great time. My face hurts from the laughing and the kibitzing we do. So many things that my sister-in-law and I do the same! It's a joy to be there and I so wish we were so much closer!

This year, we, or I should say "I" wanted to DRIVE there instead of taking a flight. I have never in my 54 years been in Saskatchewan other than flying over it or stopping at the airport to pick up more passengers. It was an adventure! Anyone who says Saskatchewan is flat is so wrong! It was beautiful from west to east with rolling hills, green fields and dots of tree's! Nothing like I expected at all! We arrived in Moose Jaw, Sask., for our first evening and completed our trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba for the next evening. It wasn't so bad! Since I had a week off from work, our visit was short lived and we left on Thursday morning. I am sure the boys would have wished we stayed longer so that they would have more of a chance to win the fishing tournament, but yet again THE GIRLS won! whooooo whooooooo! It's all in good fun! Our neice even caught a double-header (two fish on one line!)

I did take some time one afternoon in Winnipeg to visit Marathon Threads! What a great business. I was lucky to meet the owner and Chef spent time talking to him about business in general while I got to browse the catalogue and buy thread to try! I did try some Marathon thread a couple of years ago when they were at Creative Stitches in Calgary. Take a look to see what I get to try now!

We left from Manitoba on Thursday morning and headed south to North Dakota as our return journey would be from North Dakota, west to Montana and then back home! Along the way Chef had inputted the quilt shops we could visit. Sadly about 70% of them were closed due to the recession.

One of the places we did not plan on going to was Valley City, North Dakota. We had to get gas, thus the stop and of course we found a quilt shop -- The Quilted Ceiling! What a great shop! It was huge! Such a great selection and of course Chef found some great sale deals on fabric for the backs of all those baby quilts that I have yet to make!

Of course he found some fabric that caught his eye! I think there's a quilt that will have a lot of blacks and yellow's coming!

He found this one too! How cute will this be for some baby bibs? I teased my neice and her husband about how much I would like to start sewing for their baby (they are NOT pregnant)! I can always wish though!

Of course I found all the fabric for my son's quilt -- although it's going to be somewhat of a surprise, I did not take photo's of the fabric. I am pretty happy with my choices though and you will see it in time!

The other fabric that "we" found were:
I like finding fabric that will give a different visual interest like printing -- just a little bit to make someone stop and take the time to see what it says! This fabric is all about reunions and family get togethers! Perfect considering that's exactly what we did this trip to Manitoba! Family!
 I always find new things to put on my "want" list. This one I was able to cross off -- The Dresden template. I found a great tutorial on The Missiouri Quilt Company that uses this Dresden template. I figure I should be able to use up a lot of my scraps with this template and get great squares as a result for a wonderful modern yet traditional quilt! Oh yes, and I can use my circle die from my GO! to complete it!
 My web browsing led me to another item on my list! I was reading about Dot to Dot quilting and thought this would be a great book to add to my quilting tools! I already have the paper (Golden Threads) that you trace onto with this from my class that I took with Lorraine Stangeness. This book will give me some more ideas on what to quilt on my finished tops. Something to "go to" since I am getting my feet wet with quilting my tops myself. I know it's not as hard as I make it out to be, but sometimes I'm just stumped as to what pattern to put on top of my completed squares, borders and the like! I figure a little more help won't hurt!

 Oh Tigger! Yes we are home and yes I love you too!
 Since there are so many babies popping up, I found a cute little book on more baby things. Cute tooth fairy pillows as well are a great size for those alphabets!

 I do have stencils that I have used my  markers with. I figured it's about time that I got myself a quilt pounce. Chef wanted to know what this was for. You fill the pounce (like a chalkboard eraser with a hole in the top with a stopper) with powedered chalk, plug the hole and then "pounce" over a stencil that is on the quilt top. The stencil marks show so that you can sew. The amazing thing is all you have to do is iron over the chalk lines and the chalk disappears with only your stitching that remains! Voila! Easy Peasy! (or so they say!)
Another item that I bought for quilting -- is the tape. This tape can be used in strips over your threads that unravel easily (like your metalics). One of the other things I am going to use this for is my fishing rod! Yes you read that right. I tend to take my pole apart, but with this tape I can put the two pieces together so they stay together and not gum up the rod or the fishing line -- keeping it organized for easier travel! Ohhhh I think I will have a million uses for this tape. You can take it off and put it back on over and over again. It's a heavy clingy plastic tape without the gum/gluey side! What else would you use it for?

Well that's it for my FART (Fabric Acquisition Road Trip)! We put on 4482 kilometers on our trip this time! Not something that I want to repeat in a hurry! Chef and my bones are a little achy from travelling in my little car! What a wonderful trip though! Family AND fabric! My two favorite things!

Happy Quilting Everyone!