Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Last finish for 2016

Monkey quilt

This commissioned quilt was delivered yesterday and will be a Christmas present for a granddaughter of a former colleague.

This will be the final finish for this year. Back to my mystery quilt!!

See you next year!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

2016 Quiltville Mystery Quilt - En Provence

The only thing I like about Black Friday is that it is the day Bonnie Hunter releases the first clue in her annual winter mystery.

I was on a Mediterranean cruise with Bonnie in August 2016.  Before we left I remember reading in one of her blog or facebook posts that she had basically nailed down the details of the mystery.  Because of that comment I figured that the inspiration for the mystery came from somewhere else.

I wasn't planning on doing this mystery just because I didn't want that feeling of being overwhelmed at Christmas with yet 'another' project on the go. Lord knows I have a few (ahem) UFOs languishing in my closet, enough PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) to keep me going for a decade, and even more ideas on my 'one day' list.  But who could resist a name like "En Provence" when you've actually been on the trip that inspired the quilt!?  Not me, that's for sure.  I'm guessing that Bonnie had the blocks for the mystery designed not not the colours.  That makes sense.

Anyway, I'm  delighted to be playing along with 50,000 others who are busy learning new techniques while they create beautiful quilts.  I've decided that to keep the stress at bay (because I'm kind of known for being driven and have actually been accused of trying to do 2 mystery quilts in tandem!) that I will do a half size.  We don't need anymore bed quilts now that we don't have a B&B anymore.  And donation quilt requests tends to be for smaller sizes so I'm scaling down the size of all of my quilts now.

Let's talk about fabric!  I was digging through my batik bin looking for something and discovered some gorgeous purples, magenta and gold/yellows.  In that instant I knew that these wold be my mystery quilt colours.

The lavender/lilac colour was purchased to augment the stash as was the neutral and the green (light green instead of olive).  I couldn't find any light lavender batik while shopping so I did the unpardonable...I added a non-batik which fit with the other colours.  I'm good with it and hopefully the quilt police will find someone else to harass.

Step 1 was four patches in neutral.  Here are mine:

I used my Accuquilt GO cutter and the 2" strip die to cut the strips.  Once sewn together I fanfolded them across the strip die carefully watching that they were perpendicular, and cross cut them into twos.  I placed them right sides together nested before this step.  They went together amazingly well and came out to the perfect 3 1/2" square when sewn together.  Nothing beats the Accuquilt GO for accuracy.

The second step was released yesterday.  It was a work day for me but I did get up a bit earlier than normal to cut a sample.  It was a tri-recs unit in magenta and neutral.  Oh my!  I remember this colour combo!

This photo was taken in Montenegro, our first port on the Mediterranean cruise in August.  I'm not sure if this is where Bonnie got her inspiration but I sure was thrilled to see these colours playing together in step 2.

I'm once again using my Accuquilt GO with die #55027 to make my tri-recs units.  I also have the ruler but find the GO just gives me more accuracy.

I got 1 unit finished before work and didn't sew last night so this will be today's fun.  Again, I'm only doing half the units required so I'm hoping to get them done before my office Christmas party this evening.

See you on step 3!  In the meantime, enjoy Bonnie's mystery link-up http://quiltville.blogspot.ca/2016/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-2.html


Monday, October 17, 2016

November Retreat

This year, my retreat group decided to stay closer to home.  Historically, we would rent a beach house up island about 3 hours away in Bowser.  After last year, we decided to see if we could find a different place in Sooke which is about an hour away.  The criteria was pretty simple...plenty of room to sew, a kitchen where we could create our own meals, comfy beds (with no sharing).

We found Anderson Cove Guest House and booked it!  Right on the water in beautiful Sooke.  It offered an ample dining room for sewing and a huge kitchen with another table for mealtime.  Perfect!

We stopped for lunch together on our way out (all but our kindred spirit, Pam from Okanagan Falls who met us there).  After room allocation was done, we set up to get sewing. 

Dining room sewing station

I always bring more projects than humanly possible to complete.  I'm kind of driven that way.  I just never know what will inspire me.  I choose to work with my inspiration.

My first goal was to finish a baby quilt for my grand-nephew who is due to make an appearance in
February, but the baby shower is December 10th.  This was a free pattern from Moda Bakeshop and the instructions were wrong but with help (thank you Pam!) we managed to decipher the count and get assembly started.

And finished!

Next up was to finish this Monkey Quilt.  A former colleague commissioned me to make a quilt for her granddaughter for Christmas, so this too had a deadline.  The only criteria was it had to have monkeys.  I found one and only one fabric at Cloth Castle that had monkeys.  Apparently it's the year for other critters and I always find myself searching for the last trend, a few years late!  However, I came homewith some monkey fabric and had the blocks all done before the retreat and I just needed to assemble them.

This is the Warm Wishes pattern by Project Linus from Quiltmaker.  I finished putting on turquoise borders last night and am sending it for longarm quilting tomorrow.  With Christmas looming, lots of overtime at work, I decided in order to free me from stress and meet the delivery deadline for my former colleague, I needed to delegate something and the quilting of this quilt was it.  I'm sure my friend Jan Symonds at Victoria Sunshine Studio will do a fine job.  Stay tuned for pictures.

Finally, after those two projects were done, I pulled out my Razzle Dazzle WIP (work in progress).  This was to be my quilting cruise project but became a home project when Crafttours informed us that there would be no sewing machines on our cruise afterall.  My rant is over about that and this quilt needs to be made!

I'm departing totally from Bonnie's colourway.

I did manage to get all of the alternate green/yellow setting blocks done but really struggled with the contrast between them and the main blue/yellow star blocks.  I've now settled on keeping them.  What did it for me was seeing a small thumbnail photo on my phone and being drawn to the image.  Oh good!  I really needed to settle it once and for all.  And this is what I'm going with.  Everything else seemed too washed out.  So am I happy?  Yes.  I have a special recipient for this quilt and that will be shared later.

The 2016 Quiltville mystery is about to launch so I will be posting more about that in a few days.  It's a very exciting time of year for quilters around the world.  If you haven't heard about it, check out Bonnie Hunter's blog at www.quiltville.blogspot.com and click on the En Provence tab.

Until next time,


Teaching Debut

I had the honour of being asked by my guild, the Victoria Quilters' Guild, to teach my pattern, Waltz Around the World, at our annual Fall Frolic Workshop, this past Saturday.

I was very fortunate to have four quilts to display for my students, as my pattern tester Mae provided two of hers as samples which added to my two gave a lot of options for my students to consider when choosing their fabrics.

We went from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and during that time we managed to one (or more) of each of the units required to make up this quilt pattern.

Here are a few photos from our day:

Four samples and four colourways

Penny chose batiks.  Lovely!

Shannon also chose batiks.  Love them!

Teresa and Judy busy at work cutting

Glenys pressing her flying geese units

Nice contrast of batiks in these geese Glenys!

Blocks are starting to take shape.

Bold solids really define the shape of the block.  Love these.

When they start to play together on the design wall beautiful things happen!

Teresa is study colour placement.

Coming along nicely!

Ta da!  One is missing because Glenys had to leave early because of an impending storm and a ferry ride that needed to happen to get her home.

I had a great time and loved seeing all of the beautiful fabrics chosen by these ladies.  They each made the blocks their own and I can hardly wait to see the finished quilt tops.

Sew much fun for one day!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Farewell Barcelona (Aug 31)

This morning we wandered to find some breakfast on our way to the meeting point for the bus tour to Sagrada Familia.

We were able to photograph it outside when we first arrived in Barcelona and had our hop on/ hop off tour.  But I've been anxious to get inside based on what I've seen of his exterior architecture.

And I wasn't disappointed!  I actually was moved to tears when I entered this church.  It is not a cathedral because it does not have a sitting bishop.  I didn't know that before.

I was speechless at the light that entered through its windows.  A virtual rainbow from yellow through to blue/green on one side and from yellow through to orange and red on the other wise.  Our tour guide Anna-Louisa was extraordinary and she explained the symbolism of the colours.  The yellow/blue/green side represents nature.  The red represents the blood of Christ.

There is too much to really explain about this place and its designer but if you are interested in finding out more about Antoni Gaudi, I'm sure google will help you.

One thing Anna-Louisa did mention was that Antoni Gaudi was in line to be sainted but it could take 40 years.   She said that his qualifying 'miracle' was that he interceded for a blind young girl whose site was restored.  I think this building is a miracle.  The mathematical genius of the architecture, coupled with his understanding of light left me awestruck.  In my books, this was the most beautiful building of the entire trip, and we saw some gorgeous buildings.

We have to get up at 3:00 a.m. to find our way to the airport for our 6:30 a.m. flight home, so for now, Arrivederci! Au Revoir! and Good Bye!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

And back to Barcelona (Aug 30th)

We woke up docked back in Barcelona.  We had to have our luggage packed and outside our cabin door by 10 p.m. last night so we could make a quick disembarkation at 8:00 a.m.

We enjoyed our last breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe.  Stacey, our evening wait staff was working in the Windjammer that morning. 

They work incredibly hard and most of the staff on board from all over the world (their name badges show their country of origin) are working on the ship seven months at a time with no days off.  Our two wait staff were there to send money home to family.  When Stacey shared her story, I cried.  She is a single mom with two girls, aged 3 and 11.  She hails from Jamaica.  Her mom is caring for her children while she is here serving us,  excellently I might add.  She is absolutely delightful and gave us her undivided attention throughout the cruise.

I won't forget her.

Tomorrow we have a reservation to visit the Sagrada Familia, the famous church designed by Antoni Gaudi.  It is still under construction and not expected to be complete until 2026.

Looking forward to that!  Until then, time to rest up from all that walking.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Provence (Toulon), France

Now to a country where at least the language is somewhat familiar!

We arrived in Toulon at 8:00 a.m. and once again, we decided to see where our feet could lead us.  We were hoping for a hop on/ hop off bus and found this quaint little 'train' that took us on a quick tour through Toulon managing to get down walkways that a regular bus couldn't.  It was fun.  It was open air, low to the ground and we did manage to get some good photos.

Beautiful harbour.  Reminescent of our harbour if the naval base was closer to town

We strolled through the open air market after the bus tour was over and then sat down for our daily cappucino.  This one got top marks as being the best on the trip!  We enjoyed cappucino at every port.  We also enjoyed a few more things like pizza, pasta and creme brulee in Venice (and cappuccino of course), and more pizza in Rome, and gelato a few times, but our main focus was cappuccino and we weren't disappointed!

Tomorrow we sail back to Barcelona where we will be spending another two nights awaiting our September 1st flights home.  It's been a LONG vacation with lots of sights, flavours, smells and sounds.  I'm officially home sick and can hardly wait to get on that plane.

It's been a great cruise!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Taste of Florence (Aug. 28)

We docked at 7:00 a.m.  This was another very long walking day.  We were off the ship at 8:00 a.m. and met our tour guide at the bus on the shore.  After a 90 minute drive into Florence, we began our walking tour culminating in time on our own to explore, shop and eat if we wanted to.

Florence was my favourite of the Italian cities we visited, with Venice in second place and Rome in third.

I was in particular looking for leather.  I wanted to find a bag but came home with a whole ensemble including shoes.  The Vendor gave me a package deal.  He likes Canada.  Or it was a good line.  In any event he got my business.

The bag is hand painted leather with the matching wallet.  When I spotted the shoes he told me they didn't have many left.  I asked him the size of the display pair.  41 he said.  Well, let's try them.  Perfect fit!  So they came home with me.

So very pleased with these acquisitions!

Until the next port!


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rome in a Day (Aug. 27th)

We were greeted with a very hot day in Rome.  We booked an excursion called "Rome in a Day".  Let me tell you, it can't be done.

We took a coach from the ship which dropped us off at the Colosseum.

In 37 degree C heat, we didn't fancy waiting in hour long lineups in the sun to get inside so we just appreciated it from the outside and followed our guide's instructions for the walking tour.  We did end up seeing St. Peter's Basilica from the exterior and St. Peter's Square, more ruins, churches, cobblestone streets, and other ancient landmarks.

Vatican City/St. Peter's Square

Trevi Fountain

Shopping Mall

Spanish Steps (and no we didn't climb them)

It was a bit surreal, kind of like you are looking at an extravagent movie set.  While I appreciated all of these sites, the heat made it a difficult day. We walked our little footsies off  and were glad to see the coach at the end of the day to take us back to the ship. Oh yeah, the bus broke down so in total we were on three buses (coaches) that day. 

We *could* have had a full day private car with a guide for a mere $1,350.00 per vehicle.  I'm satisfied.  I've seen, and appreciated Rome.  We did get some information on the ride back to the ship and saw some more from the windows of the coach.

I'm looking forward to Florence!  They say the leather is to die for.  Stay tuned!