Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Is spring here to stay?

We have had some gorgeous days and there are more in the forecast. By Saturday we can expect temperatures above 20C.And with the warm weather and the sun I get the urge to get my hands dirty. My begonia's and caladiums are doing fine, but it is way to early for them to be out. And the chance of it staying this nice is close to zero. Today I had my weekly rounds to make to the bank, grocery store, butcher and my favorite Amish place to get the best birdfeed.I stopped at the greenhouse near St. Jacobs , where I have been getting my pansies. And I was lucky. They were open for business and I could buy my usual flat of 48 pansies. On my way home I picked up a big bag/bale of growing medium and I was in business. I'm not scared to set pansies out this early. They can stand some frost and they are close to the house. The wheel barrow came out of storage and the pots were cleaned and I was ready to plant. I planted 3 pots for in my urns and they should be colorfull come Sunday. The rest I will plant in front of the house, but I will wait a few days till they have hardened some. I started to dig in the flowerbed and oh boy, can I feel it! I did finish the top I started in the workshop with Elaine Quehl. I want to machine quilt it, but it will have to wait till after I come back from the National Show in Calgary. That is coming up. I'm getting the 2 quilts that have been accepted, ready for the National Juried Show. They will be send next week. Most of the supplies for my workshops are here, but I have to get busy and put it all together. Still working on the crazy quilt block. It should be finished this time next week. Then I can clean up the table and get ready for my trip to Calgary Last week we had our monthly horticultural meeting. I enjoy going there and meet neighbours and friends. And over the years I have learned a lot. I miss more meetings then I like, but it seems that a lot of guilds have their meetings also on Tuesdays
This time there was a small competition. We were to make an arrangement using one flower. I came up with this one. I cut one of the flowers of my orchids and the rest I found outside.
I love to use corkscrew hazel and red dogwood.
And it still looks as good as when I made it.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Usually I'm giving a workshop, but last Saturday I was able to take a workshop from Elaine Quehl from Ottawa. On Wednesday we had seen her trunk show at the guild and I was looking forward to her workshop.I have made a few wallhanging with fused fabrics, but I wanted to lean more. It was a full house with 20 students The Community Center in Mannheim is bright and airy, just what you need for workshops. I had made up a design before( jack-in-the-pulpits), but once I saw samples and got some more ideas I changed my mind. I wanted something, that would not take too long. Here you see my attempt at making poppies.Elaine is on the right. The top was not quite finished, but as of this morning it has all been fused and now I will have to find the time to quilt it. All in all, a great workshop! I'm trying out some new thread for some of my sashiko workshops. I received 3 different thicknesses of pearl cotton in different colors. I like to make use of my time, so decided to try them out making cards. All 3 have the same cherry blossom pattern. The top one is a #5 pearl cotton and it proved to be too thick. The middle one is a #8 and was just right. The outside is a single strand, the inside a double strand. Both work well. The bottom one is a #12 pearl cotton. To my surprise it worked very well with a double thread. The compay, Valdani Threads, is sending me now a few different colors to try out. They should be here by the beginning of next week. I will keep you updated. There will be some more postcards in the making. For the top 2 cards I used Japanese Doby cloth, for the bottom a piece of silk from a vintage kimono. I'm still working on the crazy patch block, but I realize, that I like to do that in smaller doses. I seem to run out of ideas, but I will persevere.My aim is to have the 4 blocks and a border finished by this time next year.And there is no room to make anything else. All my "stuff" is out and covers the whole table. It also does not help ,that we have had sunny weather. The squirel seems to have caused enough trouble and we have not seen him/her for a while. There are even a few crocusses, that have survived. I planted my begonia's and today the caladium bulbs I bought at Canada Blooms. Both are in pots in front of a sunny window.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sure sign of spring

This week I have been working on some of the embellishings. I find it the easiest to start in the center. The blocks are smaller( and won't take as much time) As I work out, I do not have to hold as much of the finished blocks in my hand and they don't get as crumpled. As with the other blocks I did not find the first ones that hard. Lots of ideas, but slowly the ideas will be used up and then it gets harder to come up with new stitches and "stuff" In the meantime I cannot do anything else, since the table is covered completely. Now there will be a break for a few days. Tomorrow there is our guild meeting and then the next day bright and early I will be leaving for Canada Blooms in Toronto. I'm planning on taking my camera along and I hope to find inspiration looking at all the floral arrangments.Then on Saturday I will be taking a workshop with Elaine Quehl. I'm looking forward to it. Remember last week, that picture of the innocent squirel? I did move the bird feeder and did not see the squirel on the deck again. Now, today I found out the reason why. Last fall I planted lots of daffodils and crocusses. When I had a look around this morning I found lots of daffodils sticking up. But in front of the bed I saw a few bulbs and a few green sprigs. Looking closer I saw neat little mounds of bulbs, all with the leaves eaten up. Now I have been gardening for a long time. I have had groundhogs eaten my peas, herds of cows running through my corn or eating my flowers, dogs digging up bulbs,but I never have had problems with a squirel......until now. And all of a sudden she/he/it does't look as cute anymore. I have not decided what the next step will be. I wonder if I stick the bulbs back in the ground, if they would survive till next year. I planted around 10 bulbs together and would't you know, that's how many I find in a heap. Grrrrrrr!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another project finished

Last evening I tried to blog, but I could not get anywhere, so let's try again. The quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale this year is done. Size: 60 by 60 inches. Hand appliqued by members of the Waterloo County Quilters Guild and hand quilted by members of the Listowel Mennonite Church. The "big sister" is going to Quilt Canada and will be auctioned of next year. The whole project lasted from October 2008, when I asked if members of the guild would be interested in this project, till now. Around 100 different ladies have worked on the the quilts.And I would say, that it's the average time it took for the quilts I have coordinated. It never has been a speedy process. Now it is on to another longtime project. For 2 winters I have made a crazy quilt block for my "horsy" quilt. This winter there had not been the time up to now. I got all my fabrics out and sewed one block, putting the different laces and sigar silks in as necessary. It went so well, that I also sewed the fourth and last block.( My first plan was to make 12 blocks. After one was finished it was changed to six. After the second block it was down to 4)All 4 have a photo transfer with horses in the center. The fabric has been put away and now there is another mess on the table with buttons, laces, ribbons and you name it. It will be a long time project. Tomorrow and Saturday I will be teaching in Guelph (both workshops are full). Next week Wednesday there will be our Guild meeting, followed the next day by a trip to Toronto for Canada Blooms. I'm looking forward to the day and will take my camera along. I hope to get some ideas for another flower related wall hanging. How about some of my fancy Japanese fabrics with ikebana style flower arrangements? I have another workshop coming up on Saturday March 27th It will be at Quilters Dream in Waterdown ((905-689-3434) and we will be making the pansies. We have had a few beautiful days. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. When I walked this morning with Riley, I got a lot of waves from the passing cars. I cannot see any of the 200 daffodils, we planted last fall yet. What I can see is the mess on the lawn. When we put the geothermal heating system in during December it had started to snow and up to now the ground always was covered by snow. Now the bare ground is visible and it is clear there is a lot of fixing up to do. But I realize that will have to wait till after the planting seeding and spraying .
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Side tracked

This should have been the week to make my next crazy quilt block. But it has not happened. When all the cut-of triangles from last week's post were finished I had some leftover vintage Japanese fabric, too good to throw out. And since I have a few birthdays coming up I decided to make cards with the left overs. And it seems to take just a little longer to make multiple than one, so here are the 6 cards. I put Wonder Under on the back of the scraps and ironed them on a piece of Peltex. Next I made the cherry blossom with sashiko(center,left).The circle with the cherry blossom was machine appliqued over the collage.After that I put another piece of fabric, also with Wonder Under, on the back. The final step was to go around the card with a zigzag stitch.I have enough small pieces to make one more like that.For the others I tried to match the sashiko with the flowers on the fabric. Those circles are hand appliqued to the back fabric and then I stitched the sashiko. Next the fabric is attached to the Peltex. On Sunday I received the quilted "small sister" to the big papercut quilt ,that was quilted here last fall. The large quilt will go to the NJS and will be sold at the Relief Sale next year, but this smaller one will be sold this year. The applique was done by ladies from the Waterloo County Quilters Guild and the quilting by members of the Listowel Mennonite Church. Now it is my turn to put the sleeve, binding and label on. Right now it is laying on the floor in the hall. It has to be squared of and the first step was to wet the borders. The borders can be manipulated somewhat and I hope that by the time everything is dry the mitered corners will be straight. The final size will be about 60 inches. There was a question about the cut-of triangles I talked about last week. For each triangle I sewed the pieces together by machine and then basted the turned over edges by hand. Whatever I had in mind to do with them did not work. I will have to go back to the drawing board. When I have decided they will have to be sewn together by hand also, either on another piece of fabric or all together with little set-in triangles. No matter what it will be a lot of work.
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