Sunday, July 31, 2011

Card Tricks Two Ways

First of all, the flowers are blooming like crazy so picking a bunch for a friend was quite delightful.  I had them sitting on the counter ready to go as a hostess gift and Husband was searching all over for what was making the stink in the kitchen.  MEN!  I pointed out that I had picked flowers.  They did not stink.  They smelled like wonderful, perfumed flowers.  MEN!  I was playing whist with my card ladies this afternoon.  I adore playing whist.  We have been getting together now for about a year and are self taught whist players.  It involves an incredible amount of laughter but most importantly good fun while visiting and being silly and eating good food!

Card tricks also factored into the picture today another way, with me breaking out the gardening gloves and stippling my card tricks quilt.  I think this one will end up living at Mum's house.  She is quite taken with the colours.   I am quite happy with my stippling on this one.  It seems the more I do this, the more I am satisfied with what I feel it should look like.  Just like with whist, I am a self taught.  I did check out many free motion quilting tutorials on line, especially Crazy Mom and Oh Fransson's tutorials, but it really just involves a whole lot of practice.  I quilt all my quilts myself.  It is just what I do.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Flea Market Finds on a holiday long weekend

It is a funny state of affairs when many of your flea market finds come from your mother's linen cupboard and/or your mother's rag rug stash.  Among other things, I have a huge stack of vintage sheets.  Husband asks, "More sheets?" I do keep using them either in quilts or on the back of quilts.  And yes, I did find more sheets this morning.  

On the way out this morning, we saw a big black bear!!!!  Not far from home. The bear went up and over a fence like it was nothing.  Very agile for such a big animal!!!  I did not, however, have my camera.  Darn!

Mum's finds:  Fire King bowls, Pyrex and her Jadeite Sugar Dispenser!!!!!
Mother found some awesome deals in her thrifting adventures today, including a Jadeite Sugar Dispenser.  I am filled with envy.  It was purchased for a grand sum of $2.  Crazy!!!

I also have a lovely tin of old buttons and stuff.  Mum found those at her local thrift store for me.  She asked for them and the nice volunteer lady kept them aside for her.  So sweet!  And some other sewing notions from this morning including a box of dressmaking pins and a card of shirt buttons which are apparently both "washable and attractive" !  Interestingly, I paid the exact price that the pins originally sold for - 25 cents.  And if you look closely next to the dice, there is something that might be an old sewing machine bobbin?  Notice the lovely red buckle!

And I leave you with a picture of our big woods on this sunny summer day!  This is exactly where bears like to live.  : )

I will be linking up with Sophie's Flea Market Finds and with Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday on Monday!  Check out the other thrifty finds!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Week 6 Finish It Up Challenge and we have a quilt top!!!!

It is week 6 of the Finish It Up Challenge hosted by Meg!  Oh my goodness, I am that close, I can taste it!  Yes,  we have a quilt top and this just happens to be the very last official item on my list!!  High five!  Click heels in air!  I will take care of the back, the sandwich, the quilting and the binding this weekend.  This quilt has been like a bit of an albatross around my neck because it started life as my decoy quilt in May so that I had something to blog about while making a gift quilt.  Then I realized that the blocks just were not cooperating.  Then I realized it was because I messed up in not trimming the little squares during construction.  ARGH!  So here we are.  It looks pretty good but to me, I can see wonkiness.  I am going to celebrate that and just love it because it is such darn pretty fabric.  So here is my sneak peak on my wonk-tastic card tricks or Clovers quilt.  To hear more about wonk, take time to check out this post over at wienerdog tricks.

Here is my list...

My work in progress list includes...
1) Paper pieced scrappy string quilt 
2)  Clovers or Card Tricks quilt ( now a quilt top!!!!!)
3)  Sparkling Cider Vintage Sheet Quilt
4)  Fresh Flowers Quilt (only just cut out!!!)   Now a quilt top!
5)  A hexie pillow cover

add ons to the list...

6) Vintage sheet quilt in blue
7) Farmer's Wife Quilt Along  (week 9-20 blocks finished and ahead by 2 blocks)
8) Doll quilt and pillow for Mum's donation

I will be linking this up with the the other Finish it up quilters over at Meg's!  Check out the great finishes for the week!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Fair Black Currant Jam

I entered a quilt in the Summer Fair yesterday and just like all great old timey summer fairs, you need to have some great jam on display too.  Yesterday, I used the black currants that Husband had so carefully picked and made our favourite black currant jam.  There is something just so special, unusual and intense about black currants.  Just brushing up against the leaves of the bush, sends up a fragrance that is both astringent and perfumed.  Eating a fresh black currant is also an experience.  Not everyone likes them.  But once they are cooked, the flavour is transformed into something that has to be experienced.  Full-bodied, somewhat winey, and definitely magical.  Full of vitamin C.  Excellent on a scone or your favourite sponge cake.  Fabulous on toast.  Makes you think you are eating something that is incredibly rare and expensive.  

Check your farmer's market if you don't have any of your own.  Pure yummy-ness in a jar.  

Black Currant Jam

4 cups of black currants
1 1/4 cups of water

Boil 10 minutes, stirring, then add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, bring to a boil and boil hard for 10 more minutes.  Skim off the foam.  Bottle in prepared jars and seal.  Makes about 4 small jars of goodness.

Check out the quilts and recipes at the summer fair!

Gen X Quilters Summer Fair

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunflowers for Summer... Summer Fair Quilt Show!

I made this quilt as a gift for our daughter's university graduation this past spring.  When I saw that Gen X Quilters were hosting a Summer Fair Quilt Show, I had to think about which quilt to enter.  Considering this is one of my favourite quilts for so many reasons and considering sunflowers shout "summer", I thought this should be the quilt.

Our daughter is our sunflower girl.  She loves sunflowers and always has.  I have kept and scrounged sunflower fabrics over the years because of her.  Some of the fabrics in this quilt are scraps from sundresses I made for her when she was a little girl.  I also added a few more "modern" sunflower fabrics to round out the selection.  I knew that I had the fabric but then I had to decide on a pattern.  I did not want the quilt to look too country or too something.  I was taken with Elizabeth Hartman's Kitchen Window quilt in her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork.  This is a great book by the way!  And it seemed perfect to showcase the sunflowers in a modern quilting way.  Framed in Kona black and floating in a yellow Kona solid, stippled all over in yellow, I am just so pleased with how it turned out.  I backed the quilt in a striped sheet with a strip of sunflower print to tie it altogether.  And the icing on the cake was how delighted our daughter was when she opened it at her graduation.  Probably my favourite quilt gift to date.  Here is the quilt, next to our woods, this past May.

Have a wonderful summer and check out the other entries in the Summer Fair Quilt Show!

Gen X Quilters Summer Fair

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farmer's Wife... is it already Week 9?

block # 40 Friendship Block

Block #39 Friendship

on the barn door

and on the barn door too

I made my Week 9 blocks this morning.  Cannot believe it is already Week 9 of this quilt along.  Husband was freezing broccoli, chopping up vast amounts of parsley for tabouli (the parsley is winning... he cannot keep ahead of it) and even made cookies.  I sewed.  I made a few more card tricks blocks and then the Farmer's Wife Blocks.  It is truly amazing how much easier the card tricks blocks are now that I actually read the directions!  I picked simple blocks for the Farmer's Wife this week.  I think this Farmer's wife was feeling a tad lazy in the tiny little pieces department.  : )

#39 Friendship and #40 Friendship Block.  I put my shoes on to go outside to take pictures of them.  Husband asked me what would happen if I saw a bear in the woods.  I told him that I would say...Hello!  After all, I made friendship blocks.  I did not, however, see a bear.

I did see some great finishes over at Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.  I linked up with my doll quilt of last week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Being Mature...

I have this lurking project on the back burner.  The last thing on my official list for the Finish It Up Challenge.  Heavy sigh.  I am a bit annoyed with this quilt.  I started it as a decoy quilt when I was making Daughter's Sunflower quilt.  I needed a project to work on and blog about so that she would not suspect I was making something for her.  A little convoluted.  Totally sneaky.  I am using a Figtree Quilts pattern called Clovers.  The block is also called card tricks.  I missed one critical little step when I was making the initial blocks.  I failed to trim each little block to 4.5".  I was soooooooooo frustrated with how the blocks were going together.  I was ready to pitch the whole works and never look at it again but I pulled it out today.  Wrapped my brain around the block and layout.  Trimmed the wee blocks to the required 4.5".  Man.  What a difference.  The blocks went together like nothing else.  I am now not frustrated.  I trimmed the blocks I had already made so that the blocks are all the same finished size and I am now well on my way to getting this quilt off my list.  I feel so mature.

On the farming front. Raspberries picked.  Did not fall in the ditch.  Finished picking black currants but have not made the jam.  Weeded several flower beds.  Helped Husband round up one of our new little chickens that keeps escaping the chicken run.  Husband has gone over the run so many times and cannot figure out where they are escaping.  Very sneaky.  Luckily they are easy to get back in!  Have a lovely Monday!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunny Sunday...

I drove back home today with a van full of treasures.  Husband was hoping I would detour to the dump before coming home.  He is such a thrift store scrooge!  He was, however, most delighted with the giant box of cherries that I brought home.

While at Mum's, I busied my hands with dishcloth knitting.  I can knit a dishcloth in an evening while blabbing away or watching TV.  Husband says these are the best for washing dishes bar none.  Since he is the dishwasher in the house, I will take his word for it.  I cannot help but think about one of my teachers, whenever I knit a dishcloth.  She taught most of her grade three class to knit a dishcloth before Christmas.  The students then sold their completed dishcloths to their families for a $5 donation to the food bank.  It was a win win all around.  The children learned to knit.  The families got a great dishcloth and the food bank received donations.  How awesome!  Even the students who did not quite master knitting had a part in at least wrapping the cotton when it was time while an adult actually manipulated the needles.  This was referred to a co-knitting.  It works.  At the end of the school year, there was still knitting going on in her class.  I think she created a whole group of knitters single-handedly.  And that is a wonderful thing.

If you are interested in knitting up a dishcloth, all you need are a pair of needles, and some 100% cotton. It is readily available at any craft or department store.  I have my favourite dishcloth pattern, from one of my aunties,  here.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flea Market Finds with Mum!

Mum's shabby chic stool=$5

Mum and I spent an awesome morning at her famous Kiwanis Market, several garage sales and some thrift stores.  It was a morning guaranteed to have driven Husband around the bend sideways but Mum and I had a blast.  We even punctuated all the thrifting with a stop at a fabulous gelato place.  Oh my goodness.  It was heavenly.  It is located in an old church of all things and the gelato and coffee were so good that they should be illegal.  Even the washroom was to die for.  Yes, I am serious.  

I have added a selection of our finds.  And this is a mixture of Mum stuff and my stuff.  Feast your eyes!

Sadler teapot, milk glass vase, Petal Ware creamer and assorted linens =$6

Pyrex large fridgie, 2 pyrex mugs=$2.50

Yep, can you believe Jadeite=$1.10

Mum found her marbles=$1

Vintage sheets!!!!!  some from Mum, some from the thrift store

Milk glass, a treat from Mum
Vintage sheets from Mum and the thrift store
Pyrex bowls, will go to Daughter, Mum found these for under $1 for all 3

Mum lives in a sweet little town in the Okanagan!  Great, cheap thrifting!  It was just so much fun and we are now seated on Mum's back deck, under a giant maple tree, with the warm afternoon breeze, about to have afternoon tea.  Happiness!

I will be linking up with Sophie's Flea Market Finds .  Check out all the other finds when the link is active!  Have a super Saturday!!!!  And for the first time, I will also link up with Apron Thrift Girl's thrift share Mondays!  Check it out!!!!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Finish it up Challenge- Week 5 check in and a bit of fabric

Moda candy bar with Bliss 50% off!!!!!

vintage inspired fabric on sale 80% off!!!!!
I am currently visiting my mum in the Okanagan.  Other than eating too many cherries, we have had a great time hitting thrift stores and quilt shops in her cute little town.  My big bargain of the day has got to be the buy one get one for free Liberty of London fat quarters.  Yep.  I almost fell over.  They were already cheap at $3.50 a fat quarter but the buy one get one for free just about floored me.  I checked at Purl Soho and saw what they sell for there and decided I should go back tomorrow and get the rest of the small basket.  At $90 or so for 12 fat quarters at Purl Soho, I think it is fair to say this was an awesome deal!!!  Or should I say steal!!!!!???

Liberty of London fat quarters!

It has been a most productive week.  Finishing the scrappy paper pieced string quilt is just a big wahoo!

Here is my list...

My work in progress list includes...
1) Paper pieced scrappy string quilt 
2)  Clovers or Card Tricks quilt
3)  Sparkling Cider Vintage Sheet Quilt
4)  Fresh Flowers Quilt (only just cut out!!!)   Now a quilt top!
5)  A hexie pillow cover

add ons to the list...

6) Vintage sheet quilt in blue
7) Farmer's Wife Quilt Along  (week 8-16 blocks finished and up to date)
8) Doll quilt and pillow for Mum's donation

I will be linking this up with the the other Finish it up quilters over at Meg's!  Check out the great finishes for the week!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vintage Sheets 101...

I have a thing for vintage sheets.  Partly this stems from my love of thrift stores and I blame this on my mother.  Maybe my grandmother.  Gramma used to volunteer at her local Hospital Auxilary Thrift Shop and was always unearthing treasures for us.  My Mum is the ultimate recycler so I guess this all comes honestly.  Last summer I started the whole vintage sheet thing as a cheap alternative to quilting cotton because I really wanted to practice free motion quilting without the worry of wrecking a quilt made from expensive fabric.  I used a combination of sheets and some coordinating prints and used Elizabeth Hartman's Clothesline quilt tutorial for this happy quilt.

When shopping for vintage sheets there are some things to remember.  Firstly, look for sheets in good shape without too much fading.  I stick to flat sheets as much as possible.  Fitted sheets are often quite worn, especially in the centre and are prone to pilling of fabric.  Ick.  Fitted sheets can also be stained.  Double ick.  So my rule of thumb is that unless a fitted sheet is in really like- new shape, I don't even look at them.  Pillow cases can be a good bet but there are some pitfalls.  They can smell.  Yep.  Think about it.  Lots of sweaty heads may have slept on them.  This may sound strange but if a pillowcase appeals to me because of the print, I always do the sniff test.  I will only buy a stinky pillowcase if it is an unusual or sought after print.  I have found some success in getting rid of the stinky pillowcase smell by laundering them with about 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar.  Hanging outside on the clothesline after the vinegar treatment will also help.

The whole laundry thing is the very first thing I do with any vintage sheet purchases.  They go straight to the laundry room for a good wash.  I do this before I even take a picture for the blog.

Of course vintage sheets have a lot of fabric.  Cutting them down to fat quarter size or a more manageable size is a good idea but I only do this as I use them.  I have also found whole vintage sheets to make great quilt backs.  You can find 100% cotton vintage sheets and they can be really lovely as a quilt back.  Check out my string quilt.  I used a sheet for the back.  Pure happiness.

I like to keep the border prints from sheets too.  First of all, they often have some very pretty trim.  Bonus.  Secondly, the print is often tighter and denser in a border of a sheet and that makes a really pretty binding on a vintage sheet quilt.  NICE!

Vintage sheets are readily available.  You can afford to be picky when selecting sheets or pillowcases for your stash.  Locally, I can find sheets for $2 to $6 depending on the thrift store.  Pillowcases are anywhere from $0.50 to $1.99 depending on the store and of course, condition.

Most vintage sheets are 50/50 polycotton or percale.  As a result, they do not act like a quilting cotton when pressed.  The voice of experience also reminds you to use a lower heat setting on your iron because of the polyester component in the sheet fabric.  Yep.  You can get a little melty with your iron.  The blocks also do not press like cotton so you have to be okay with a block that may appear a little floppy.  When all is finished and quilted, a vintage sheet quilt will look lovely and soft and ready to be snuggled under.

Some great vintage sheet blogs...  Jen's In Colour Order.  Not only does Jen have some great tips for using vintage sheets but she has an Etsy shop where she sells vintage sheet fat quarters and stuff.  Jen has a great blog post on how to handle and cut up a vintage sheet to make it usable.  There is also the  The Vintage Sheet Blog.

So there you have it!   Have fun and experiment!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dolly quilt!

I made a doll quilt last summer and Husband made a sweet little bed.  We then donated the whole shebang to a charity auction.  It was a great success.  Mum found a cute little doll bed at a garage sale and plans to give it a fresh coat of paint but... oh my goodness!  Wherever will she find dolly bedding for the cute little bed so she can donate the works to another silent auction for charity.  Today I whipped up a little dolly quilt and pillow.  Oh my goodness. This is just way too much fun!  I am waiting to hear from Mum for exact measurements and then I will make a little mattress pad for the complete well dressed doll bed.

SO... I pulled out a scrap bag bought awhile ago.  It was just perfect for this purpose.  I think it must be a new line-fabric samples.  Oh!  I just figured it out.  It is a just released fabric for Moda.  Amelia by Me and My Sisters.  I am just so trendy, I cannot stand it.  Anyway.  It is pretty fabric and I paired it with a pink solid and some dots tat I bought as a remnant.  Actually it was a free remnant because sometimes fabric stores just love giving away stuff if you buy something else.  I love fabric stores.

The quilt measures 16" by 24" .  I used 4.4" squares in a random mixed up layout.  Here is the fun part.  I sandwiched the quilt with batting and a solid pink flannelette.  Soft for dolly.   And quilted in the centre of each square, free motion flowers.  Ahhhh... so cute!  I was quite pleased with my flowers.  A scrappy binding from the same line and from the same scrap bag finishes it off.  I also put together a pillow and pillow case.

I think Mum will be pleased.  I am going to take it up to her tomorrow when I go for a visit.  Off to the Sunny Okanagan for a few days.  I will keep up with the blog from Mum's.  We will have to see what kind of trouble we can get it to together!

Have a super Wednesday and give a free motion flower a try sometime!  FUN!!!!  I am going to link this post up  with Fabric Story Tuesday next week!!!

Fresh Poppy Design