Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Decision Made

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time in my sewing room but didn't really get anything accomplished. I was still trying to decide what I want to work on. I looked at lots of photos, magazines, etc., and I saw a lot of wonderful quilts that I would like to make but nothing sparked me to get started on it. So, today I went back in and pulled out my bin of 2" x 3.5" rectangles. Surely I can get started on something scrappy using them?

The bin that holds these rectangles is overflowing and it is always being added to whenever I cut down scraps so I made a decision. Nothing fancy, just plain old simple rectangles. I think it will make a good quilt to use to practice my free motion long arm techniques (I can't really call them techniques...they really are bumblings at this point!).

I think I am going to make a single sized quilt and we will see what happens once I get there.

I have really enjoyed my Christmas break but it is back to work tomorrow. My quilty sister Cheryl is coming to visit me on Tuesday and Wednesday and she is bringing a couple quilt tops that she wants to quilt. I can assure you that there will be some fun antics going on in my sewing room while she is visiting!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quilty Plans for 2016

This is the time of year for reflection on the happenings over the past year and for me it was quite lacking in the quilting department. I am not one for resolutions and I don't plan on making any this coming year, however, I do plan to make some changes. During this past year I spent quite a bit of time helping my Mom. Along with my siblings we got my Mom's house fixed up and sold and we got my Mom moved into her new apartment. That was a huge time and energy commitment and on top of that I started working during that time of chaos.

Things have settled down, my Mom is happy in her apartment and for at least the time being I will be working no more than 3 days per week and I hope it stays that way! That will leave me with time for quilting.

But what does that mean and how do I want to spend my time?

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - I have tons of scraps that I want to use up and move out and Angela offers some great ways to do just that.

I think that I would like to participate in the Block Lotto on a 'more regular' basis. It is really fun to be a participant but I think even more fun to win.

Of course, I also want to work on my Seven Sisters quilts too. I do love hand piecing and hand quilting. Kathy at Kathy's Quilts hosts Slow Sunday Stitching for all those that love hand work to connect and share.

I really enjoy working in a smaller scale so I hope to get back to it and my goal is to complete one Dear Jane and one Midget Block per week month but hopefully more.

More scraps and bits and pieces have been added to the bins since this picture was taken!
I have scraps, and strings and crumbs that are calling my name - quite loudly at that - so I want to work with them this year as well. I can't say that I will ever run out of these tidbits because the more quilts I make the more scraps and crumbs and strings I get. It will truly be a very sad day if those bins get completely emptied and never replenished.

I want to play more with my long arm and practice so that I feel more comfortable and confident with free hand quilting.

What about you have any quilty goals for the coming year?

Perogie Recipe

I have had a request for the recipe I use to make perogies and I am happy to oblige.

For this last batch of perogies I used about 8lbs of yellow potatoes and when I boiled them I added some chopped garlic to the cooking water as well as salt.

I chopped 3 or 4 large onions and fried them in butter with a dash of oil and some salt. I made sure the onions browned because that does add quite a bit of flavour to the potatoes.

When the potatoes were cooked I drained them (save the potato water) and mashed them. I added the fried onions and the butter they were fried in. I also added more salt to taste but you do need to add a little more salt than you think you might want because they will be wrapped in dough. The potatoes mashed up really well because I used yellow potatoes and I did not need to add any extra butter. Do not add milk when you mash them. If they are too dry add more butter. You do not want your mashed potatoes to be too soft but you don't want any lumps either.

The dough is made using the reserved potato water and if there is not enough you can also add milk. This recipe is for approximately 2lbs of potatoes but because I used 8lbs I just quadrupled the recipe.

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup potato water
1 tsp of oil
1 egg

Mix/knead all of the ingredients together to make a stiff dough. You don't want it too dry but not too sticky either. I let it rest a bit before taking a chunk and rolling it out. You don't want the dough to be too thick or your perogies will be quite doughy but they need to be thick enough so that when you fill them they don't get holes from the dough stretching around the potatoes. I cut the dough using a round cookie cutter but you can use a glass or whatever you have at hand to get the size you want. To form the perogie, lay a cut piece of dough over your cupped fingers and thumb. Scoop up some potato using a teaspoon and put a blob in the center of the dough. Try to keep the potato away from the edges. As you can see in the photo, I  slightly press the potato into the center of the dough. Sometimes when you are forming the perogies the dough doesn't want to stick together when you are pinching them closed. I keep a small dish of water close to hand and just dip my fingertips in and moisten the inside edge of the perogies to help seal them if needed.

Simmer for 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water or freeze on floured cookie sheets and store in freezer bags once frozen. They can be cooked from frozen and then sauted in butter and fried onions.

This is a basic dough recipe but sometimes you need to tweak it a bit. When I made my dough this time, I needed to add more flour than the recipe called for because we had high humidity in the house. We had been cleaning the carpets and it had been raining for a couple days previously and environment does have an effect on dough.

I hope you do try to make them - they are a bit time consuming to make but so good!

Monday, December 21, 2015

More Pillowcases

Pillowcases for Adam, Anna and Eric

I have not been sewing very much at all because of all of the Christmas preparations and cleaning....ughhhh. You would think that I would have started the major cleaning process a lot earlier in the month or even in November but I am a procrastinator when it comes to housework and I do pay for it in the end!

I did manage to make 6 more pillowcases though. These pillowcases will go to my two sons, Adam and Eric and also to Adam's girlfriend Anna. The pillowcases for Anna match the quilt she will be receiving and I hope she will be happily surprised with both gifts.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Perogie Making Day

On Christmas Eve I will be serving a meal consisting of yummy Polish food and today my husband and I are making the perogies.

I peeled the potatoes and chopped the onion last night in preparation and got them started cooking this morning.

I have trouble getting the dough rolled thin so that is my husband's job and I get to stuff and pinch...pinch....pinch.

These perogies will be frozen on the cookie sheets and then transferred to freezer bags. There will be plenty for dinner on Christmas Eve and there will also be plenty of leftovers for our guests to take home.  We love these little nuggets of deliciousness....YUM!!

I am not Polish but my husband is of Polish descent and that means my sons are too so I do try to incorporate Polish food in our celebrations. When I was engaged to my husband, his mother invited me over to learn how to make perogies. Honestly, I think she wanted to see if I could make them successfully because after they were boiled she proclaimed that I would be 'a good wife' because my perogies did not fall apart during the cooking process. Funny how you remember things :). She would have been 100 years old this past October.

I had never even tasted perogies until I met my husband and then I realized that I was missing out. There is nothing like homemade perogies and store bought ones just don't seem to cut it, although, Costco does sell one brand that does taste pretty good.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Anna's Quilt is Finished

Even though I worked Saturday, Sunday and today I was still able to get Anna's quilt finished. I spent time each day/evening hand stitching the binding and the label to the back of the quilt. I worked from 11 to 7 today but before I left this morning I finished tying off the thread tails and got them tucked away into the quilt and then I took some photos.

I am so relieved that I got the quilt finished in time for Christmas and I am thrilled with the way it turned out because it really is quite pretty!

The quilt top was 76" x 76" before quilting but finished at 74" x 74". I used the same fabric for the binding and the backing. I have decided to call this quilt Summer Dreams.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hopes of a Sewing Day...!

2 pairs and a single flannel

Yesterday, I was up bright and early or should I say dark and early. I was anxious to get my day going and planned to do a full day of sewing and quilting. Well, we all know that plans get changed whether we like it or not!

I did manage to make seven pillowcases for Christmas gifts. From the time I met my husband, we have celebrated Christmas Eve at his Mom's place and when she moved with us we continued the practice. When she passed away we decided to carry on the tradition.

On Christmas Eve we have friends over and we have our Christmas dinner. We do exchange token gifts with each other but save our family gift opening until Christmas morning. This year we have two couples and a 9 year old child over for the celebrations. I have made Christmas pillowcases as gifts for them and I will include some Lego for the child and some chocolates for the adults. I had some fabric left over and made one pillowcase each in red and green that we will keep for ourselves.

I used the method that I found on YouTube - Missouri Star Quilt Company and it was a very easy method and gave very good results.  Even though I have a serger I made mine with French seams because it is such a nice finishing touch.

singles for me to keep
I actually made two of the green pillowcases in November and they are hanging as part of the Christmas display at work and they turned out really well. I will get them back sometime after Christmas so I won't be able to use them until next year.

I still have more pillowcases to make for my sons and a couple other people but my plans were interrupted with the 'h' word. You know, the dreaded 'housework' word. My son has invited a group of friends over to play a Warhammer game today and will need to use my dining room table. The house was in a shambles so chores became important and they had to be done.

While they are all hanging out on the main floor of the house today, I hope to be puttering away in my sewing room.  :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Finished Quilting

When I posted on Monday evening I thought that I was done quilting for the day...I really had only intended to get the quilt loaded and everything prepared for me to start quilting it today.  After seeing the first row of quilting completed, my excitement got the better of me and I went ahead and quilted the whole thing. I didn't finish until just about 11 pm and I was pooped out! I had to work yesterday but the late evening didn't bother me because I had the 1 to 9 pm shift at the store so thank goodness I didn't have to get up too early.

I am very happy with the way the quilt looks so far. I used such a pretty aqua thread and even though it was darker than the front and lighter than the back it turned out great. I am always a little hesitant to use a thread that doesn't blend in completely because every little detail shows up whether you want it to or not. ;)

I had loaded 10 bobbins thinking it would surely be enough for the quilt but just as I got to the last row I ran out of bobbin thread half way through...wouldn't you know it. It didn't take too long to load another bobbin and finish the quilting but it always seems like such a chore. The quilting design is called Whipped Cream and it is a somewhat dense pantograph and it gives such a wonderful texture.
I still need to make and attach the binding and I am leaning towards using the same fabric as the backing. I am not working today so I plan on having a very fun and busy sewing day!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Quilting In Progress

I have been working on Anna's quilt every day - a little bit here and a lot there - and I have made wonderful progress. When I first started this quilt I said that it was such a quick and easy design but that was before the rounds started getting bigger and bigger :). I got through it though and today I made the backing and loaded everything onto the quilt frame. The photo shows the first row of quilting...I think it looks pretty good.

I love the colour of the thread I have chosen for this quilt and that is a good thing because I had to make a special trip to Toronto to get it. Well, I should say that my husband drove me there on Friday to pick up my order from my thread supplier. Happily, it also gave me a good excuse to add several other colours of thread to my collection.:))  I was scheduled to start work at 1 pm last Friday and my husband got me back with plenty of time to spare. I am so fortunate that my husband is such a great guy!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Anna's Quilt

So pretty and feminine
Anna's quilt is coming along quite quickly because it is such a simple pattern. I am so happy for that because I had to work on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a long work day so I had no time for sewing but I had a short day at work yesterday with a later start so I was able to work on the quilt both before and after work and I made good progress. The top is now 40" x 40" - just another round or two of blocks and it will be done.

I am glad that it is coming together so quickly because I have another project that I need to get underway. I purchased this fleece to make a couch throw for my son Adam and I plan to give it to him for Christmas. I need to do some prep work first to get it ready for me to take to my guild's Social Sew on Wednesday. While I am there, I plan to spend my time putting a blanket stitch around the perimeter using a gray and black yarn. I bought a skip cut blade for my rotary cutter and hopefully it will make it easier to accomplish that. I hope it turns out the way I think it will.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Starting a New Quilt! feels so good to be able to spend more time quilting!!

Yesterday, I had the day off and I spent a good part of it cutting strips and making 4 patches. Before the day was over I had more than enough 4 patches made to start a new quilt.

This quilt will be for my eldest son's girlfriend, Anna. I have a list posted on my fridge for everyone to write down what they want for Christmas and when they visited a couple weeks ago Anna requested a quilt. When I saw what she wrote I had a panicked thought that there was no way I would have enough time to make one for her because of other obligations, but, I did continue to think about it. I was trying to come up with a design but I kept rejecting all of my ideas because of the time involved to make them. I have finally decided to make her one that looks like this....

It is a very simple design and really shouldn't take me too long to put together but it will still look great. I have a good start on the 4 patches and I think I have enough strips cut of the print fabrics but I still need to cut more of the white. Over the next few days I will do some more cutting and sewing and before too long I hope to have a finished quilt top!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Finished Quilt

I finished my latest quilt creation a couple weeks ago but didn't post about it. I don't know why I didn't because I really am excited about the finish.

I called my quilt Smartie Party because the dotty fabric reminded me of the candy. There is a lot of movement going on in the quilt but I think the narrow borders really do give a place for the eye to rest. I think this quilt is perfect for a young girl.

I didn't have quite enough backing fabric so I pieced together some of the leftover floral border fabric and added the strip to the back to lengthen the backing.

I was a bit nervous about quilting it because I used a yellow thread on a solid navy background and I knew that every single flaw would show....but I should not have been worried because it turned out gorgeous. I love it!

My photos never really do any of my quilts justice because they are always so much prettier in person than in my photos. The quilt finished at approx. 52" x 58" and I quilted it using the pantograph Alfresco.

This quilt is hanging in the store where I work and it looks good!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

I have had the last couple days off work and I have been putting my time to good use. Over the past many months I really haven't spent much time quilting because of family commitments as well as working and I truly have missed it. I did finish a quilt for my SIL recently but that was from a top that I had already completed and I just made some modifications to make it suitable for her. This is the first quilt in ages that I have made starting with choosing the fabrics to getting the top stitched together.

This is what the quilt top looked like early yesterday before I started adding the borders.

Making border decisions can be such a challenge for me. I knew I was going to use the flower fabric as the outer border and I ended up making it a bit wider than I had originally planned. I also intended to use the orange and green fabric as inner borders but I hadn't decided on which one would go on first. When I laid them out I felt the orange and green looked too blah side-by-side so I added a very narrow navy border to separate them. I know it took me longer to make my border decisions than it took to actually sew them all on!! I had the top finished yesterday and this morning I just finished making the backing. Can I get a whoop whoop!!

When my husband saw the finished quilt top he said it looked quite psychedelic. :))

Remembrance Day

As I worked on making my latest quilt I have been watching the History channel with their Remembrance Day programming. I have been thinking about a young man that I never knew but who served in WWI. My grandfather's brother, Victor Ernest Morgan Greenland died at the Battle of Lens on Aug 21, 1917 - the day before his 21st birthday. He was not married and did not have any children. His body was never recovered and he is memorialized at Vimy Memorial, France  


He was so young that he barely even had a chance to live and yet he gave his life for our freedom.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Moving Right Along

I don't know why or for what reason but sometimes I can be just so darn productive...other times...not so much. I will take those productive periods whenever I can get them!!!

Even though I worked Saturday and Sunday I have made great progress on this quilt. Of course, it does help that I am making a quilt that I designed and made previously for my dear friend's grand baby.

I first cut the fabric into strips and then sewed them back together :)))) Using my Easy Angle and Companion rulers I cut the pieces to size.

At the beginning of each strip set I used the Easy Angle to get started and then cut as many units with the Companion ruler as I could. I finished the strip set with the Easy Angle ruler and then finished up anything that was left over that was usable.

These 'extra' pieces could very well end up in blocks for the back....or not. ;)
I now have all of the pieces ready to be sewn into blocks and if all goes according to plan I will get them all done today. Still feeling very productive.....

Friday, November 6, 2015

Starting a New Quilt

I need to make a quilt and I need it done fairly quickly. Luckily it doesn't need to be too large - something like a toddler quilt/lap quilt.

I have decided to use these fun fabrics with this wonderful colour palette. Navy, green, yellow and orange along with some coordinating dots and funky florals....what could be better?? Hopefully, it all works out according to plan!

I am not working today so I plan to get started cutting and sewing strips right away. Since I started back to work last May, I find I am lacking time and energy for quilting so I need to grab the time when it and some energy presents itself at the same time. ;))

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sashing and Borders

I am a day late for Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching because I was working yesterday but I still want to show the progress I have made over the past week on my latest Seven Sisters quilt. Since my last post, I have prepared and stitched on the horizontal sashing strips and I have the vertical strips as well as the vertical borders ready to get stitched on. I took the picture showing a horizontal border but they aren't quite ready because they still need to be cut to size and the stitching lines need to be marked. I wish I could have taken a better photo but sadly this was the best of the lot!

I am so excited because I can see how close I am getting to beginning the process of hand quilting this baby but......I am also unsure how it is all going to look when it is done. Now that all of the pieces are finished and the sashing and borders are all laid out it doesn't quite look like I had envisioned. Hopefully, it will all look okay once everything is sewn into a quilt top and the magic of quilting happens,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seven Sisters Blocks

They look quite blah against the light tile floor.
Before I left for my trip I was hit with a bad cold and cough that had started on Tuesday. I was scheduled to work six shifts from Sunday through Sunday but I was just feeling so bad on Thursday of that week that I called in sick which is something that I rarely do. Thank goodness I had already finished the quilt for my ex-SIL because I had absolutely no energy to work on much of anything during the week before I left.  When I delivered the quilt to her she was very happy to receive it. She told me several times that she loved the colours in the quilt and that made me happy too.

Since I have been home, I have been taking it easy and resting on the couch because I still haven't quite shaken the cold or cough. Luckily for me, I am not scheduled to work until Monday so I have one more day of recovery. While I have been sitting on the couch I have been giving my latest Seven Sisters quilt lots of slow stitching attention. Since I had all of the pieces already prepped it made it very easy to just sit and sew. I now have all of the blocks finished!

I think that later today I will start getting the sashing pieces marked for sewing and start cutting them out and then, who knows, I may get some stitched to the blocks later tonight while watching tv.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching...boy it has been quite a while since I have joined in. Pop on over to check out the links - you just may be inspired to do some slow stitching yourself!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Home Sweet Home

I am back from from my trip and I am ready to get back to work on some quilts! I had taken this bag with contains the Seven Sisters block pieces that I had prepped to work on while visiting my brother Mark. I was very optimistic and also included some cotton yarn to knit some dish cloths while we were sitting around chatting. The bag never even got opened! Not all that bad though because now I do have everything ready to finish making my excuses!

I got home from my brother's yesterday at around 3:30 pm or so. We left his town at 7:00 am so our travel time was better coming home than going. It was an 8.5 hour drive to get me home (with two rest stops) and it took us 9 hours to get there from my place (with three rest stops). My sister Glenda still had to drive quite a bit further to drop my Mom off at her apartment and then carry on to her own place. I think it added 3 more hours to her trip. You can bet she was exhausted!

My brother lives in the small town of Cochrane, Ontario which is basically close to the northern end of the road system in the area. Cochrane is also home to the Polar Bear Express which is a train service between Cochrane and Moosonee as there are no roads to the town of Moosonee.

Cochrane is so far north it is only about 186 miles south of James Bay which is part of Hudson Bay and is the southernmost part of the Arctic Ocean. So, now that you have had your geography lesson it is time for me to get some stitching done!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Drawstring Bag

I just made the cutest drawstring bag! After I made the Kindle pouch I thought about the charging cord and the connector cords that I need to take with me. We do live in a digital age and I like having my IPod, my Kindle, my phone, etc., but all of the cables that go with them can get lost in a suitcase. Now I can keep them all together in one cute little bag.

I used this you tube tutorial to make my bag. I did change up the sizes because I wanted a smaller bag. The fabric measurements I used were approximately 9" x 16.5".

I sized the fabric for the drawstring channels accordingly and I placed it 1" from the top of the bag. I used 6 times the width of the bag for the ribbon drawstrings. I probably could have used less ribbon but I really was just guessing and I didn't want to cut it too short.

Looks like a present!
The bag has a flat bottom so it stands up. Mine is not perfect but it is good enough!

I Made a Kindle Protector

I will be going on a long drive to my brother's place very soon and I want to take my Kindle with me. I didn't have a protector of any kind for my Kindle and I didn't want it to get scratched or damaged on my trip so I made one.

I started with two coordinating fat quarters, a piece of scrap batting (yippee....I am using some up) and a piece of velcro.

As I started working on the case I decided to leave the velcro behind and I attached a loop of ribbon instead. I plan to add a button to the front of the case to wrap and loop the ribbon around but I need to purchase one.

It came together fairly easily and I am quite happy with it, although, if I had been thinking I would have made the ribbon longer and then I would have been able to just wrap it around the bag to hold it closed. Elastic would have been even better but, even though I am sure I have some hanging around, I just couldn't find it. Oh time.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Floral Seven Sisters

The last time I showed my progress on this latest seven sisters quilt I had only one block completed. I also had enough floral diamonds pieced into stars and ready for joining together to make four more blocks as well as enough floral diamonds cut and ready to sew into stars for a sixth block.

Things have changed a bit and out of the twelve blocks I am making for the quilt, I currently have five completed blocks and seven blocks still under construction. All of the floral stars have been pieced and have been joined together to form the sisters for each block and now these last seven blocks are just waiting for some background fabric to be added. I did not have enough background pieces prepped to finish them up. :(

These three blocks just need the large corner pieces added to them to finish them up. The corners really are quite easy and quick to add so these blocks won't take long to finish once I get going on them. The other four blocks won't be quite as quick but, of course, most of the piecing has already been done.

I am not working today, so I plan to spend time marking and cutting the background fabric to get all of the required pieces ready for adding to the final blocks. I need diamonds, trapezoids and the larger corner pieces.