Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Seaside Habitat

Well, it has been month and a half since we've moved into our new abode.  We have been BUSY!!  All the packing I did over 3 months was unpacked (most of it anyway) in 3 days!  There are still some items that need homes but essentially we are in our new living space and it feels like home.  Most of the man cave stuff has not yet been unpacked but that's not essential to day to day living.

Our dogs seemed to settle in right away.

We've covered the leather chairs to avoid them getting ripped by doggies looking out the picture window at squirrels.  We call it Squirrel TV. 

 I spent some time fretting that they would be traumatized first by not having us with them for a whole day (we sent them with a friend for the day for some non-chaotic time) and when they got to the new house they saw us and it was all well.  They have a smaller fenced hard and despite one run-in with a resident raccoon everything seems to be right in their world.  Big relief.

In my previous post you heard me make mention of my sewing room contents and whether they would fit into my new compact space.  I'm happy to report that my closets in the new laundry/sewing room have managed to contain everything, including the finished quilts which are in storage bags.

We have hung our artwork and my hubby helped hang my quilt in the front entryway.   This event had me overjoyed because it's a huge empty wall and the quilt fit the space perfectly without being draped over a rod.  SO HAPPY!  There is no doubt whose house you're in when you come in the front door.

My antique grandmother's flower garden is once again draped over the antique rocking chair. 

The last two weekends I've actually spent some time sewing again which has been wonderful. There has been so much to do that I  haven't felt the freedom to sew until last weekend. 

Before we moved I had a request from a friend to finish off a lap quilt started by her dear momma who is having her 94th birthday at the end of September.  She was an avid quilter but can no longer quilt. I finished her quilt last weekend and it was given to her mom who thought it had long since been given away to someone else. She was overjoyed that it found its way back to her. 

This is all hand quilted in a simple cross hatch pattern. 

When that was done I attacked my 2" scrap bin with a view to making a simple scrappy rail fence quilt. These blocks are 5".  I just wanted some mindless sewing so these strip sets were perfect.  

And today I was overjoyed to finish piecing my first one block wonder. 

I still need to add the borders. I don't have enough of the feature fabric for an inner frame so I'm not yet sure how I will finish it.  I will spend some time on Pinterest to get some ideas. Until then, I'm doing a happy dance that I got it this far since it's a couple of years old. 

So that's where this quilter is at. Settled into my seaside habitat and finding my quilting mojo again.  My new cover photo is taken on the seaside path at the bottom of our street.  We walk here (almost) daily with the dogs. Life is good.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The big move!

This blog has been my forgotten child!  This is evidenced by my last post date of March.  Wow.  How did that happen?

We've had our house for sale for the last year.  Anyone who has ever gone through the process of living in staged house with multiple showing requests will understand why there has been little sewing or blogging.

I'm happy to say that we have now sold and will be downsizing from this beautiful acreage which we named Dayspring Farm (hence my blog moniker) :

This beautiful place has been the backdrop of almost all of my quilt photos.  Here are a few of my photo ops:

Original pattern:  Amish Block Party

Original pattern:  Coffee Shop Around the Block

During my one and only outdoor Saanich studio tour.  This is a fractured quilt I made for my sister.

Another photo from the outdoor studio tour.

Photo taken in the "Lion Garden"  named because as we were reclaiming this garden we uncovered a lion head statue.

"Mom's Tomato Garden" - this quilt was donated for a silent auction - also taken in the Lion Garden looking towards our back yard/garden

Tennessee Waltz - gifted to my cousin - photo taken in our orchard

Ohio Log Cabin - wedding gift - also taken in our orchard

Moving is hard.  We are downsizing from 5 acres and 6500 square feet (which we chose because of my mother in law living with us before we lost her to Alzheimer's, a home based business and two kids at home). We have so many memories at this place!

Times change.  Kids grow up and move out.  Our loved ones pass on.  We age.  Our needs change.  It's the end of an era for sure.  During our time here we published a Christian newspaper until 2006. We had a B&B for 5+ years.  During the building of the B&B business I had the pleasure of using the good dishes for guests (who doesn't love playing with china and linens??!!).

I had a purpose for making some of my larger quilts!

Queen sized log cabin I call "Country Sunshine" - the Princess Suite

Queen sized Buckeye Beauty quilt and a corner of Double Delight, my first Bonnie Hunter Quiltville mystery quilt - Queen Suite

Roll Roll Cotton Boll also in our Queen Suite (another Bonnie Hunter Quiltville mystery quilt)

"Celtic Solstice" another Bonnie Hunter Quiltville mystery quilt on the King bed in our King Suite.

During the 12 years at this home my quilting passion, acquisitions, and tools and stash grew!  And my quilt studio happily held the expansion.

I love my space!   That window looks out over the back garden. I love everything in this space except that blue carpet!
The blue carpet showed absolutely every thread dropped and I have spent many hours with the vacuum in this room to get it ready for staging/showing.  The quilting frame has now been sold.  That sewing table has been sold.   Not pictured is a worktable that has been sold.  It was hard to dispense with these tools but there is no room at our new house so an adjustment will need to happen.  And it is happening.  I was ruthless as I packed up my sewing room.  I let go of scraps that I could have used but have now gone to other quilters who are already fashioning them into gifts of love for others.

And here's how the sewing room looks  now:

I'll tell you.  It's a sobering day when you pack it all up and see just how much 'stuff' you have.  It makes me reflect on how different the quilters of today are from those that walked with our ancestors.  Bonnie Hunter, recently blogged HERE about her epiphany about our stashes and why we collect them.  I had a similar epiphany as I was packing away all my treasures.  How much do I really need in order to be content as a quilter?  I know I need to quilt. It's my passion and my therapy.  But will it all fit into my smaller space at the new house?  The jury is still out on that.

It will be a bedroom that has been converted to a laundry room.  The closets that would have been in the bedroom remain.  There are two banks of closets which will be all there is to store the 'stash'.

Pardon the picture.  It was a snapshot from the brochure.  Under the window you see in the reflection there will be my simple sewing desk, an heirloom Jamaican mahogany piece that we cannot dispense with.  Any project that requires a bigger space will be sewn on the dining room table.  As you can see it will be quite an adjustment!  I am determined to make it work.  The top of the washer and dryer is a countertop which will serve as a cutting/worktable.  See that TILE floor?!  SEW excited not to have threads on carpet.

Two weeks today we'll be unpacking in the new house!  Yippee!

The majority of our living space has been packed.  I've been vigilant about getting it done early because we still have the man caves to deal with.  Yes, I said caves.  Hubby is a collector and we have a seriously large amount of stuff to go through and recycle, sell, give away or pack.  This will be the hardest part.  If you think of us please say a prayer.

I will probably not be doing another blog post until we've actually moved.  I've enjoyed catching up with this but it takes time to write and while it's a fun Saturday morning activity, it isn't going to get those boxes packed.  This stuff isn't going to pack itself.  So, for now, I will sign off.  There will be a new post after August 1st.

This is a very long post and thank you if you've already stuck with me this far.  Thanks for sharing in the journey.

One last if this quilter is no longer at Dayspring Farm, should the blog be renamed?  Let me know what you think.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Flower Garden Finale

I'm doing a very happy dance over here. My flower garden quilt has been fully quilted and just awaiting a decision on the fabric for binding.

I had some tense times while the quilt was on my b-line quilting frame. I was in distress thinking I was ruining the quilt. I made an SOS call to my friend Teresa Ranson, who is a very experienced and talented long arm quilter. I drove up and pulled the quilt from my front seat. I could hear Teresa's voice say as I approached her front door, "not a lot of respect being shown to that quilt". Nope. I confess that I was very close to just tossing it.  I grabbed it from over my railing at home and shoved it in the car unfolded. 

 We had a consult and she encouraged me to carry on and not to be so hard on myself. So we nicely folded it back up and off I went home to redeem the situation. 

I decided to load it back on the frame to finish the stippling in the floral borders. From there the plan was to pull it off the frame and pull the Janome 6500 to the dining room table and set it up to quilt it sitting down. I needed the spread room for the quilt. My sewing table doesn't have room for a big quilt. 

And after all, my quilting buddy was returning from Uganda and we had a sewing date set. I set up my small Janome for her and this is where we spent two wonderful days reconnecting and sewing ourselves into a frenzy. 

Here we are on day two having a blast. 

Here is Terry's station

She is making a storm at sea quilt for her foster son in Uganda. It will be beautiful in her blue and aqua batiks. 

I had such a better time sitting down to custom quilt the blocks.  And here are the blocks with their unique quilting in each block:

And now the finished quilt!!

Cooper approves. Sophie is still sniffing to decide if she approves. 

Now to decide on binding. If I had some of the sky blue fabric left, that's what I would use. But I don't. So then I wondered about yellow. Not sure. Then a friend suggested white. That may just be the ticket. I will decide tomorrow. 

Until next time,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flower Garden quilt adventures

My oldest UFO is my flower garden quilt. The block of the month top is now complete and it feels so great to cross it off my UFO list!  This quilt top is not perfect by a long shot. I started it before I knew about a scant quarter inch and some of the blocks with a high number of teeny tiny template pieces were smaller than some of the latest blocks that I've finished.   There was some fudging and frustration but it's done!!  Here it is before the final border:

I thought that a yellow backing would be great so I looked but couldn't find anything on sale that was calling to me. I figured I should really use my stash anyway and build a back if I could. I was reminded of my bin of orphan blocks, of yardage languishing in my stash and some strips in my bins that could be pieced into blocks to enhance the back, and that's what I did.  

I started with a bright yellow daisy print yardage  Then I dug deep in my orphan blocks I discovered some pieces that were extracted from a mystery quilt that I didn't like.  That's another story.

Then I found some yellow and purple leftover units from which I made columns. 

I added some plain yellow to the top right column and the bottom left column (not pictured).  I was trying to keep it symmetrical.   Hmmm...what next?  Nothing else from the orphan block bins seemed to fit so I decided I would piece some nine patches. And put them on point. 

Getting there!

Here it is almost done. I decided to separate the columns with a bit  of green, also from my strip bins. You can just see a bit of the yellow and green piano key strip at the top.   Stash busted for this back:  2 + meters of daisy fabric, orphan blocks, 4" squares cut into triangles for framing the nine patches, 2" strips for nine patches, and yellow fat quarter for column extensions.  That feels amazing!!  I didn't spend money. I used what I had which was my 2015 unspoken resolution/challenge. 

One final check on size revealed that it was just needing a bit  more width. So I ended up adding some green strips to the sides before giving it a final press and loading it on my quilt frame for quilting. 

This is as far as I got yesterday. Our house is for sale again ( fingers crossed for a quick sale!) and we got a last minute showing request for this morning. In noticing  the high amount of thread on the carpet, I decided it was time to tidy up, rather than party in my sewing room. Perhaps I will start quilting it tomorrow.  The next questions are:  which colour thread should I use and how should I quilt it. My friend who is a missionary to Uganda is home on a short furlough. She is my quilting buddy and she is coming for breakfast tomorrow.  Maybe there will be some inspiration as we look at it together. But we will be on a shopping mission tomorrow. She has been on a fabric fast and needs some supplies. Me?  I don't need anything, especially since my quilt back is now a done deal. I'm also still recovering from hip surgery and my shopping stamina still isn't there. But we will have some fun together. Then we have a sewing date on Wednesday. It will be sew great to spend time with my friends sitting around the table chatting and catching up while our machines hum in the background. 

I may finish piecing my scrappy log cabin quilt on Wednesday. 

Or maybe I will finish constructing these:

I will think of something. In the meantime this girl needs some shut-eye. My friend will be here for 7:45 and my chance for sleep on this sleepless night is fading.

Until next time,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The adventures of Gertrude and Emily and the wrath off the angry bird lady..

Have you ever heard of such a title??

When my kids were little there was a series of irreverent kids books called Captain Underpants. I'm not kidding. Who would make that stuff up!!?? There was one title that particularly hit our collective family funny bone. Are you ready?  "Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgy Woman".  I'm not kidding.  Anyway I will explain this blog title later, but keep that in mind.

As previously posted, I'm finishing off a very old block of the month UFO called The Flower Garden Quilt from Newport Quilt Shoppe. The shop has been closed, according to my google search, and the pattern is discontinued but It's very eye catching indeed and I was drawn to it and bought a quilt kit years ago through a local quilt shop. 

This quilt has been by far the most difficult piecing project I've ever done and I've thought a few times of either throwing in the towel, modifying it to simplify it by maybe paper piecing instead of templates. I've even though of appliqué, and I'm not a fan of appliqué. But I'm not a quitter either and I am actually quite a determined soul so it's not natural for me to let a pattern get the best of me.  So I persevered.  And I persevered some more. 

Today was the day to tackle this block:

What I didn't realize, because I didn't read the fine print (duh!), was that there are two blocks in this pattern package. That would explain the bazillion template pieces for this one.  I decided to start with the biggest one, which is the two birds in the bird bath. Here are the two bird blocks under construction. 

Not for the faint of heart. One shows the finished bird block. The other shows the back of it. You will notice the ever popular Y seam, only Barbie doll clothes size. How wonderful (not!).  Anyway, I conquered the beast. It's not perfect and I'm not totally thrilled with it but I figure I can quilt out the sins.  Here are the birdies which I have named Gertrude and Emily splashing in their bird bath.

Next on to the second smaller block called the flying bird. 

I didn't name this one. 

At least they measured correctly (small mercies). Now the only thing remaining are the floral borders. 

Where did the little birdie  go!!??  Oh there he is!!

And now Gertrude and Emily are also wrapped in flowers. I'm glad they are happy little birds.

And now for the title explanation.  I was the angry bird lady today.  I was very aggravated putting together this block. I figure with that much emotion involved, I needed to name these darn birds. I immediately thought of the game Angry Birds, but they weren't the angry ones. I was. So there you have it :   Gertrude and Emily and the angry bird lady. That's me. But I'm angry no more, because my birdies are now drinking from their bird bath and the blocks for the quilt are coming together. I stood back after putting some on my design wall and I am very pleased. 

We're getting there. I have a few completed blocks still to frame. I have three blocks still to construct and frame and then it will be on to completion.   Has it all been worth it?  Absolutely yes!  All of the challenges we endure in our quilting projects make us grow our skills.  There is something very satisfying in crossing the finish line. It's even a sweeter victory when the journey has been a difficult one.  I am also recovering for surgery so I am building not only my skills, but my stamina and leg muscles. 

We'll see if tomorrow's block(s) are easier. I expect they will be. 

Until next time,