Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Crazy quilt blocks

We had a few wonderful days over the holidays with family and friends.It was busy with lots of talking and laughing. And ....of course eating. And we did have a green Christmas. We even saw a few stragly pansies sticking up in the garden. Now all is quiet again and it is time to go back to work. Joan, owner of Greenwood Quiltery, the quilt store in Guelph, asked me to teach a workshop in Crazy Quilt embroidery. So out came this small wallhanging I made a few years ago. The center is 12 inches and I used embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery,charms and beads. This was a bigger size than we wanted, so right now I'm working on a smaller, 81/2 inch block I hope to have ready in a few days. I realized that over the last few years I had gathered a good collection of ribbons, beads, charms and laces. This came in very handy.
My goal is to make a horse themed crazy quilt. Last fall I received from my mother all the old ribbons our family won with our Frisian horses.
And I feel like I finally can manage to put some old pictures on fabric, using our printer. The only thing I would like are a few sigarette silks with horses( preferable black) If anybody would know, where there are some available, please let me know.
I figure on making 12 12inch blocks with a border. This would be a long time project with a block at a time approach. I'm sure other things will crop up from time to time.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's starting to look like Christmas

Not outside!!! It looks like we might have a green Christmas for the first time in over 20 years. The weather is great, cool and sunny, but it is just not what we are used to here in the snowbelt area of Ontario, Canada. But we have a few days yet, still time to change.
So we have to get that Christmas feeling inside. I like to get a real tree and this year it ended up being taller than I expected, only 3 inches from the ceiling. Another tradition I have is making arrangements. I go around our farms and cut cedar, pine, boxwood, redwood, and some other scrubs.I did buy a few things like eucalyptus This year I cut less of everything and made 8 arrangements in different sizes in the kitchen. Other years a friend will come over and we have to take over the (heated ) workshop.
Some of these arrangements are meant for the neighbours.
They know that if the container is returned during the year, it will be filled up for the next year.
Tonight I have to get groceries and I will buy some carnations to stick here and there.
About 10 days ago I send 10 fabric postcards, the ones with the snowmen, to Holland, England, California and locally. I had them hand-cancelled at the local postoffice and I have heard from most recipients.And .....all came over in good shape.
The coming days will be busy with getting ready for family to come home.
I do find that with only the two of us at home, that I can get away with less baking. But then this week-end we will have family and friends over for dinner for three days in a row, different ones every day,so a trip to town is necessary. Maybe more then one trip.
Wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Straw figures

B.Q, or better before quilting I worked a lot with wheat straw. This is a very ancient craft. I found my first book in England, where it is called "corn dolly making". It is confusing, because what we call grain in Canada is called corn in England, while what we call corn is called maize over there. Anyway, one of our crops is wheat and since we have a test plot anyway, it was easy for me to get a variety of wheat, dark, light, bearded ( bearded wheat has long hairs) or not. I would cut it by hand, dry it and "clean" the wheat. This means that only the stem with the head would be left. This would be stored till needed. Till about 10 years ago I made hundreds of items. Problems with hands and shoulders made it harder. Before you can work with the straw it has to be soaked,after which it is pliable enough to handle. It also means, that you have to finish the project before the straw dries out.
So it got too much to do the bigger projects. Applique was much easier. Whenever I had trouble, I could stop and proceed later. I have not stopped completely though. Every year I pick a few handfull of wheat. And when I need a small present it is fun to whip something up. My fingers still seem to know how to make the braids.
One year I decided to start the work on a Nativity scene. That year I made these 5 figures. The plan was to make a few every year. That did not happen and these are the only ones I have.
They are about 12 inches tall and usually they come out of the box for Christmas.
When the tree is not too big, one of the angels stars on top of the tree. Not this year. I managed to buy a tree that hit the ceiling!

Friday, December 08, 2006

More of the same

One more workshop and it would be all over for the year.
But.....more of the same. On Friday I finished making all the samples to show the different stages of making a fabric postcard. In the afternoon I got everything together. Even my voice was not too bad.
But it was not to be. That night the stomach flue hit me me. Needless to say I did not make it to the workshop.
Since the room and lunch had been ordered the group decided to go though with it. Laurence made a mad dash to Kitchener after the chores with all the supplies and I went back to bed for the next 3 days.
This workshop was for my own guild.I'm organizing another quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale and this one involves the making and sending of fabric postcards. At the last meeting I met members, who had never made one, so an informal list was made for people interested in a workshop. When that list was over 20 we decided we better do something about it, so a workshop was organized. In total over 40 members signed up. A second one has been added for late January.For that one I will make some other samples.
Since all my stuff was shipped to the workshop on Saturday I could not work on anything here at home once I felt a little bit better. Yesterday I retrieved my things and even got some Christmas shopping done.
These snowmen are meant for sending to family and friends overseas, so it is more than time to finish them and hit the post office.