Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from Brentwood Bay, BC on beautiful Vancouver Island.  It's a sunshiney Christmas day rather than a white one but no complaints from me.

Our humble little Christmas tree.

I am thankful to have had Christmas week off from work which has meant getting some last minute gifts made and lots of yummy eats for our extended family get together last night.  It's our Christmas Eve tradition to gather with my sister and her family and we switch up the food every year to keep it interesting.  Last night we had a buffet of appetizers.  I've been trolling Pinterest plus enjoying all the suggestions posted to Facebook and here are a few of our choices:

Mozza  stuffed meatballs

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus

Blackberry Brie Bites

Chorizo sausage bites with arugula pesto

Yam Tartin on the left, pulled pork crostinis, devilled eggs, chunky avocado dip

Yummy just waiting for the family to arrive

My kitchen is one of my happy places and although it was almost a solid three days of preparing all these yummy treats, it was a fun three days.  The family appreciated the effort and the selection of tasty morsels. And yes there are leftovers.  For the first time ever, we decided to delay Christmas turkey dinner until Boxing Day.  We are all still full from Christmas Eve!

My other happy place is of course my sewing room.  I didn't make a lot of gifts this year but I was anxious to try out my new Accuquilt Orange Peel die.  I decided some tablerunners might be nice so I gathered some Christmas fabrics from my stash and purchased a few more and then put these together.  There was no pattern but I may do a tutorial at a later date.

This one was made with assorted Christmas fabrics and gifted to a friend at work.

Simple stitch in the ditch quilting plus some arcs quilted in the border.

For my dear daughter
 I did some outline quilting of the orange peel shapes, stitched in the ditch for the borders and then did some stippling all over so that the orange peels pop.  This fabric matches the decor in her apartment.  She loves it and that makes her momma very happy.

 I also made a pair of Snappy Slippers for a dear friend who is also a quilter.  It was my first attempt at this pattern and in hindsight I should have made a test pair first before the Christmas crunch.  There was some unpicking and frustration with the pattern but I got them done...and then forgot to photograph them.  Here is a picture of them in progress.  They look like canoes before you sew them together:

And here is the pattern:

I am actually going to get some sewing time today (unheard of on Christmas Day), but my daughter bought tickets to the new Star Wars movies for herself, her Dad and brother (not my thing) so they've headed to the theatre to enjoy that.  Me and the doggies are content to stay at home in the peace and quiet and now that all the dishes are done, I will see what kind of mischief I can get into in my sewing room.



It's a wonderful life!  Blessings to you and yours on this Christmas Day 2015.

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Live from Bowser, BC

This blog post is brought to you live from beautiful Bowser, BC where four of us quilters are hunkered down for our second quilt retreat from a beautiful beachfront retreat.

We have a new member this year and are down three from the previous retreat two years ago. So that brings us to four. 

Pam - second timer

Mae - first timer

Linda - another second timer

Me - another second timer

I had a few of goals at this year's retreat:  1). I wanted to make my son a warm winter quilt for Christmas. I purchased three jelly rolls for this in sandy coloured earth tones to match his new room, 2) I have a set of 7 fat quarters that I wanted to use for a baby quilt in a quick and easy pattern, and 3) I wanted  to finish the blocks for my blooming nine patch quilt which I started a few weeks ago at a guild workshop.  I always bring way more than a weekend's worth of projects because I never know what I will be inspired to work on. 

Here's my blooming nine patch where I left off after  the guild workshop. I have a bunch of nine patches to construct.  Better get busy!!

So let's see what we can accomplish this weekend! 

Our dining room workspace. 

The view from my sewing table day 1.  Not too shabby. 

My son's Christmas quilt minus borders. 

Sewing the border on.  

All done now!  Ready for sandwiching and quilting. I will use Hobbs wool batting and flannel backing to achieve the warmth required.

Next up is the baby quilt project. .

All done and ready for quilting.  I used bricks and half bricks in a step layout with a simple white inner border and a coordinating outside border. We found the border fabric and an adorable grey flannel polka dot fabric at Sweet Pea Quilting in Parksville. The fat quarter pack came from Satin Moon Quilted Garden in Victoria.

Linda's jewel tones stepping stones quilt. Beautiful!  Gotta love those jelly rolls!

Mae's one block wonder. I took Mae's class a few years back for my own OBW. This one is going to be gorgeous. 

Linda busy at work on her borders. 

Now that my other two projects are done, I'm going to try and finish my nine patches for my blooming nine patch which will be king sized. 

We are now nearing the end of day 3 and here are a few more random pictures from our retreat time. 

Pam and I headed outside during the storm to get some fresh air, kick a few rocks in the beach and try and photograph my quilt tops. 

Kinda futile but memorable in its own way. 

Random beach art. 

The sea started out calm and the sky lovely as seen in my first picture out the window. Today the sea is more fierce and the sky stormy but we are happily inside sewing away with the smell of ham and veggie soup simmering away on the stove with the promise of comfort food for dinner. 

We head home tomorrow so let's see what we can accomplish for the remainder of our time here. 

Until next year, it's been a slice girls!!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend and some finishes

It's our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and this quilter has a lot to be thankful for.  God, Family and Friends first come to mind.  And of course, my new home, new neighbourhood, my job, freedom (I think of this because our federal election is coming up next week and I'm thankful that we live in a free and democratic country!!).  And I'm also thankful that I have a quilting hobby that keeps me calm and happy.

This weekend I decided that before the big family dinner on Monday night, I needed to finish some quilt projects that are stalled at the border or binding stage.

I started first with cutting on my Accuquilt GO all the strips for the borders for all quilts.  Then on to some finishes.  First across the finish line is the rail fence scrappy quilt that needed borders.

This will be a charity quilt and I will undoubtedly just gift it as is as there are a couple of long arm quilters who will take tops and finish them before gifting them.

This one used a lot of two inch strips, not that you'd know by the number of strips remaining in my stash!!

Next up, I added some binding to three quilts which are ready for TV time/stitching time.

And finally, I got the three borders sewn on to my One Block Wonder.  The bias edges made this tricky but I'm hoping that my 'measure through the middle' corrected some of the warble on these borders.

"Cooper approved".  He particularly likes the hexie in the bottom right corner.  ;)

I'm so happy to have this quilt top done.  I now need to find some backing fabric and then I will be sending it out for quilting.  I've decided to add the original fabric (before hexies transformed it) to the hanging sleeve.  I have decided that this one will be going in our quilt show next year. 

Not bad for a sewing Saturday hey?

It's now time to clean up the diningroom where I have spread out for these larger projects so that the family can enjoy our first thanksgiving dinner in the new house.

Until next time,


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.