Friday, October 31, 2008

Crazy Quilt - Winter Raspberries

I'm so loving my Crazy Quilted Christmas sock. I'm making really good progress and I'm starting to bead. I did this little Winter Raspberries motif on an empty patch. I fell in love with this little design that was in a book at my final crazy quilting class. I'm now moving on to adding beads to many of the seams. I bought the Carol Samples stitch book. I think it will be a good reference for future projects, although I find looking at fellow bloggers works most inspiring.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A clean up day for my sewing room

With absolutely nothing on my calendar today other than my daily walk, I decided to go upstairs and to clean up a bit in my sewing room. I went up stairs and immediately starting pulling out some Christmas fabric. It's like as soon as I got to the top of the stairs, the clean and tidying up aspect at completely vanished. So with the Christmas fabric, I tried out this Pfaff pattern for a 38" x 10" tablerunner that I got off the Pfaff website. I cut 2 sets and this is set One. I have another set almost done. I just need to applique the 2 trees. I'm trying a new applique method which sees me sewing the tree to a light stabilizer and then turning it inside out so that the edges get turned in. I used "used" dryer sheets as the light stabilizer. Then I appliqued down the trees and stars using a buttonhole stitch. I had cut lots of 2.5" squares so I made these simple placemats to go with the runner. The red binding will frame them nicely. Anyway, I think this is a great pattern and I think I might buy some good nice coordinated fabric and make a good set for me.

I have the red binding already made for these and will machine quilt and bind these this weekend. I know that some people absolutely hate binding, but I love doing the binding and seeing the project finished.

I'll have to do another clean-up day next week. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boys and Spiders

Mitchell came for a visit yesterday after school. He's all boy. When it came time to make cookies or do crafts, it was all about Halloween. Our cooking project was to be Spider cookies. So my sister found this link to make yummy yukky spider cookies and Mitchell was thrilled when he saw the ingredients on the island. Chocolate chips, colored mini marsh mellows, purple string licorice and smarties. All stuff he loves to eat. So we got everything ready including snipping the licorice to make the legs of the spiders. Then we started to cook and assemble. Here is Mitchell sorting out pairs of eyes to be applied to the cooled spiders.

Then he wanted to make his Mom a gift, a Halloween colors gift. So he painted up this nice pencil and pen holder. The paint was thick and we needed to blow dry the paint, just like we do at the clay cafe. We then went into the basement and got some nice pens and pencils out of Grammie's box of desk drawer stuff from when she retired. He also got some neat stuff for his sisters. A foldable hairbrush with mirror for Caitlin and a little Mexican hat for Grace, for Bluey.

My camera is playing tricks on me... Or maybe it's just me. I had nice pictures of Mitchell hamming it up for the camera while eating his waffles and a great picture of his missing tooth..... but they're gone...

While Mitchell is blow drying his craft for mom, he's holding his doggie door hanger to show you. He actually forgot that at Grammie's house, so it's hanging on her door right now. But the cat doesn't like it.

We had a very busy few hours, but we got alot done. Now grammie needs to buckle down and get some sewing done.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween party at work

Each year, my office holds a halloween party for the kids of the staff. Michele got the kids all dressed in their costumers, and just about dusk, we left for the spooky halls of the office. There were little games that rewarded the kids with treats. This first picture is the scariest picture with Mitchell, the Pirate making a mad face and do you see those scary teeth on the Caitlin the vampire lady. How about that sweet little Ariel, isn't she a sweet mirmaid. Only Grace has the grace to be so sweet. Darth Vader was wondering the hall and the kids talked to him all evening. He was very cool. Another little girl was so surprized to see another Ariel. She was so taken with our Ariel, so I took their picture together. The most fun was the haunted maze. The kids went in there 2 or 3 times and had to avoid scary spiders, and flying bats. But they came home happy and with lots of treats.

And the big news of the day. Mitchell lost his first tooth just this morning. He's coming over today after school, so I'll take a special picture of his missing tooth.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Raggy Jackets

Yesterday, you saw Caitlin snipping her raggy jacket. It is the one with the pink diamond sleeves. This morning, Grace snipped some of her jacket, and Grampie finished the rest. Grampie has lots of experience snipping these things. So this afternoon, I finished the 2 raggy jackets and they've been in the washer and dryer to get the raggy look.

They are made of the same colors flannels, but the color strips are in different orders. The collars match the rolled up sleeve.

There is binding that goes around the collar and down the fronts and around the bottoms. I used my pfaff bi-level foot to do this. I can't believe how much I love that foot. I've used it for all bindings for the past 4 months.

So before I give these to Caitlin and Grace, I need to make something for Mitchell. I have some really nice fleece, so I might make him a sweatshirt. That's my job tomorrow, look through patterns and see what I have.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fabulous, Freddy Beach Pfaff Club

I'm so exited to be part of this project. As you probably know, "I love to sew". That is only part of the sentence. The rest of the sentence is that, "I love to sew on my Pfaff". I've been sewing on Pfaff's for over 10 years now and for the type of sewing that I do, it's perfect. I actually have 2 Pfaff's. One that stays at home, and I do 80% of my sewing on that, and then I have an older Pfaff that I use when I go out to workshops. The great thing is that the bobbins, and all the presser feet are interchangeable.

Well, in 2 weeks, I'm hosting a new Pfaff club here in Fredericton. We will meet at the local sewing shop, Sewing World. This is an avenue for Pfaff owners to learn how to do techniques and fun stuff on their Pfaff's. Each time we meet we will do a little project and hopefully learn something in the process.

Since I am the hostess, I will be keeping a list of all known Pfaffies (as we are known to each other) and organizing the sessions.
So, if you are in the Fredericton area and would like to be part of the Pfaff Club, just let me know.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crazy Quilting and Sewing a raggy Jacket

This week I travelled to Cambridge Narrows to take a Raggy Jacket class with the local quilt guild. This little community is centered around a few lakes and is quite handy to our cottage. So, I consider myself an honorary member, sort of. Anyway, the day was fun and I really concentrated on sewing. It was straight stitch sewing for the most part. By the end of the day I made 2 flannel raggy jackets for Caitlin and Grace. These are similar to the raggy blankets we made for them 2 years ago. All I have left to do on these jackets is to apply the collar and do the binding. Here is Caitlin snip, snipping her jacket. It'll take me no more than a couple of hours to complete. I'll get the kids to model them later this weekend. I will be making Mitchell a sweatshirt too.

I also finished a chef's apron that was a donation to the Run for the Cure auction. The winner got to choose a design, pick out colors and I customized the design to put on the chef's apron. I hope she likes it. It's going to be a Christmas gift for a friend. It is shown here still in the hoop. See the paper draft and all the different color threads. It's times like this I'm glad to have such a big stash of thread colors. This will go to Newfoundland by mail on Monday.

I continue to work on my crazy quilt. I now have all my threads and ribbons, so I want to do a bit of work on this each evening with the intent of having it finished by mid November to show at our last quilt guild meeting before Christmas. Here is a little silk ribbon bouquet I did. It's my first time working with silk ribbon and I'm quite pleased with it. It'll sparkle when I put some beads on it. So put a note on your calendar for around Nov 15th, when I will post a picture of the whole sock - all finished.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A visit from Grace

On Monday after school, Grace came for a visit. We had been planning this visit for some time now. Grace was afraid she'd forget to do certain things on this visit so she started making a to-do list last week to help her remind her. As we did the things, she crossed them off her list.

Here Grace is sewing patches on this little blanket. She's going to give this blanket to Bluey who you met in an earlier blog. I tried to explain to Grace that pink is not bluey's favorite color, and she just tee hee'd at me and said that Bluey would really like it, especially the little ladybug patch we sewed on.

Grace loves her Mom. When we went to Michaels craft store, she wanted to paint a pumpkin for a centerpiece for her Mom's table. We also went to the dollar store to buy some beautiful wrapping tissue and get a gift bag in her Mom's favorite colors.... Blue with flowers.

If it's one thing that Grace loves to do, it's crafts. Everytime she comes for a visit she asks to do crafts, so we got this cute little craft kit at the dollar store. They have nice crafty kits for kids. This is a door hanger with a cat on it..... Grace's favorite pet.

Grace and Grampie take a big smell of the pumpkin spice muffins we made for her and her sister and brother. Grampie was teasing Grace that he wanted to eat one. Grace picked out the decorations at Michaels and she put the spooky decorations on the muffins perfectly.

We did other things too, like visit the new Petcetera pet store hoping to see some kittens or puppies, but they had none. But they did have an amazing selection of pet toys.

And finally, Grace helped make her own supper. Waffles was her choice for this visit. She mixed them up and grammie poured it on the waffle iron. Yummy with Syrup.
Thanks for coming over Grace, we had a nice afternoon, didn't we?

One day next week, Mitchell will come for a visit. He came for a short halloween costume fitting visit a few weeks ago, but it wasn't by himself, so we'll have a special visit soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Elm City Quilt Show

Friday was a great day. I met the Friday quilters downtown for a quilty outing. We went to the Elm City Quilt show. Man, those Elm City girls have been busy and they innovative ways to create theme sections. First let me tell these gals, Great Job!! I thoroughly loved this show and I could tell alot of participation went into it.

I got there with my camera in hand and I was slowly going through and I heard this little voice, "Oh Gail, Oh Gail". I knew lots of faces at the show and since I've been travelling in quilting circles for quite a while, I wasn't surprised to hear my name being called. But I was surprised at who was calling me. It was the pack of 4 or 5 of the St. Dunstan's quilters. I never see these elderly ladies out and about, I usually only see them at church. It was fun to see them there. I introduced them to my Friday girls since they hear all about trying to decide which quilt to make them every year. When I'm at a quilt show, there's so much to look at, I get overwhelmed. I totally should have got a picture of these gals, but I didn't. Anyway, they took me around the room to show me their 3 or 4 most favorite quilts - which will be inspiration for which quilt they will pick for next year. Of course this year's quilt has been chosen, remember, it's the nines and vines that is shown here.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite picks along with the St. Dunstan's Quilters picks. Now that I look at them, they're all very traditional and scrappy.

Leave me a comment to say which one you would like to win if you purchased a raffle ticket. I'll pass the feedback on to the St. Dunstan's quilters. I need at least 10 comments for this to be an "official" poll so don't lurk, leave a comment.

From top to bottom, they are:

- Galaxy of Stars
- Apple Bars
- Geese
- Split 9 patch
- 9 Patch & Squares
- Nickel

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crazy Quilt - The last class

I'm so sad that my crazy quilt classes are done. After last weeks class, our teacher gave us an address to a webstore with Stef Francis threads on sale. I hadn't tried any before but I sure am impressed with the frequent variation in the varigation which is nice for stitching. That means that you get a thread color change every couple of stitches rather than every 4 - 6 inches. I ordered other types of threads from this site also to take the max advantage of all that I could get for the minimum shipping fee. So I'm waiting patiently until they come in before I do any more stitching.

At this class we learned about beading. There are many types of beads and many ways to use them. Somebody brought in a book (sorry, I didn't write the name down) with a really sweet raspberry design. I fell in love with it, and so did others. Many of us tried it and it's definitely a keeper. Use red seed beads for raspberries, or dark purple and black for blackberries. Look at my sample... sorry for the blury picture, I'm having a hard time taking close pictures with my good camera. My little camera is on the blink.

I also finished Aurora's Raspberry Tart hat. I hope it fits her. This is a one time only hat. Too hard to do the bobbles.
I'm off to the Elm City Guild quilt show today and then to lunch with the Friday girls. I love my Fridays.
Tomorrow - I'll post my favorite quilts from the show and Monday, a visit from Grace. We have a list of things to do that includes baking muffins, sewing a craft, reading a book and making her favorite supper ... Waffles.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maggie and Batty

Meet Maggie and Batty.

These are 2 black webkins that belong to Mitchell. These are his favorite webkins. Ever since Bluey was here to have a visit, Mitchell wanted his webkins to come for a visit and he wants to see what they're doing by looking at my blog.

Baby Aurora loves the tags on these and she has batty by the ears. Maggie is trying to get away!

Maggie and Batty are sniffing my favorite coffee candies. I didn't think they were allowed to have candy, so grampie gave them each a dog bone. Batty didn't like it.

Guess where I found them this morning. They were playing with the threads in my sewing room. They were looking for the black thread, but this is what they found. Everything but black.

And here is Grampie taking them for a walk around the house.

I think Batty and Maggie had a pretty good visit with Grammie and Grampie, Mitchell.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm so thankful for my family. Everyone is healthy and close. We had a wonderful turkey dinner yesterday with all the kids and grand kids, we had 13 around the table. I ask, what could be better? Before supper, we took all 6 kids in their new Oshkosh pj's to the Superstore Photo studio. It was fun and the photographer got a great picture of the kids. I pick up the pictures tomorrow and I can't wait to frame one. I'll show you tomorrow. Meanwhile, this is is a picture I took of the kids before leaving for the Superstore.

Also, Wade and Michele loved the cake that the kids and I made. Here is their official 10th Anniversary photo with their great kids :).

Everyone loves to play with Baby Aurora. She's very noisy now, and screams for attention. When she screams, everyone screams. She's waves hi to me now.
See those 2 teeth... she's eating lumpy food and Cheerios now too.

Mitchell brought over Maggie and Batty, his 2 favorite webkins for a visit. Now that everyone is gone home, I'll entertain these 2 for a day and show you pictures of them tomorrow. I'll give you a sneak peak of 1 picture. Mitchell, do you know where they are hiding here?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anniversaries for everyone.

Last month on September 11, it was Wade and Michele's 10th Wedding Anniversary. So, today, a month later mind you, the triplets helped to decorate a surprise anniversary cake for them and we'll all have to eat it tomorrow when they come for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks to my quilter friend Valerie for the Dragee's. These little balls are hard to find. Valerie gave me some gold ones, and I had a few silver ones leftover from Carrie and Kenny's cake a couple of years ago.

And it just so happens that today is October 11th, which is Carrie and Kenny's 12th Wedding Anniversary. They are spending the evening at a nice romantic Bed and Breakfast in Millville tonite and they and the kids will be here for supper tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary to everyone.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have you ever invented anything?

Well, I'm not sure that I ever did invent anything. I got a bit of notoriety when I developed the recycled juicebag, but I originally got the idea when I bought one for Stephanie, my niece, for Christmas. Hers was very nice, very fancy, with lots of pockets etc. The one I came up with was very simple, using local materials, and jeans for the gusset sides.

But over the past 6 weeks, I've come up with truly my own invention. It's a new diet. I'm living proof that it works. This will put Oprah and Dr Phil's diets on the back burner. I expect, once they hear about it, the Biggest Loser will come knocking on my door.

I am calling it the "Amira Diet".

I'll give you a bit of background. I was at a quilt guild executive meeting near the end of August, and after the meeting, I happened to take a wrapped candy out of our host's candy dish for my drive home.

It was dark when I left her house, and I fumbled to open the little package which contained a small hard candy but I got it opened and popped it in my mouth before I hit the main highway. The minute I put this in my mouth, I was ooohing to myself... all alone in the car... ohhhh, that's so nice. ohhh, smoooth, ohhhh so silky, ooooo so coffee flavor, ohhhh, yummy. This little candy lasted all the way home... I would say about 12 minutes.

It's just a coincidence that later that same week, at our first Friday girls coffee after the summer, one of the girls came back after not seeing her for 6 months. She had been to Calgary with her hubby and family while he was on sabbatical. While she was away, she lost 25 lbs and it was remarkable how fantastic she looked. I thought to myself... man, if I could lose the weight I put on over the spring and summer, I'd feel so good. So, the combination of those 2 things were the premise that got me started on my own plan. September 5 - Day 1. of the Ameria plan.

I tracked down my quilt host and she told me where she got the little coffee candies. I would have looked and looked but I would have never found them. They were in a little obscure Chinese good store tucked away in an unfamiliar part of town. I had never been there before. Off I go, and bought a couple of package of these little candies. I then knew basically what I had to do as far as eating wise, which was no deserts, no evening eating which was happening daily.

So Here is the crux of my "Eat Candy and Lose Weight Plan" aka - The Amira Diet

Weeks 1 - 4
Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. All the usual, no fried, limited multi-grain bread. No more than 1600 calories per day. (If you're not exactly sure how many calories you're taking in - log your intake at It lets you select the foods from drop down menus and does all the calorie, nutrition calculations for you....It's free).

After your lunch, make a cup of tea, and pop one of these Amira 12 calorie candies in your mouth. Don't chew, just suck on it until it's gone. It takes about 10 minutes. That's enough time to tidy up the kitchen and get out (before the cookies and other tempting sweets call you) Do the same after your supper.

I guarantee if you do this for 7 days, you'll have good handle on your success and you'll be encouraged to get through to the end of the 4 weeks.

Weeks 5 - 8
About week 5, you may need a bit of additional support. Keep an open mind for opportunities.

I started to stray a little. Another one of my Friday Coffee friends, offered to work with me on a 10 lb challenge. And yet another Friday girl who is very knowledgeable on nutrition said she'd look at my foodlogs. So I took them both up on it. A ctually there are now 3 of us in the challenge and I think a 4th is going to jump into the ring. I started logging faithfully after the challenge was set and I've been perrrrfect ever since. I'm positive I'll get my 10 lbs off by Nov. 15th.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Crazy Quilt Class - Week 4 and a little Run

On my daily walk across the river, I guess it was the sunny weather, but I just felt the need to run...bum knee or not. So I did my usual walk to the bridge, but decided to run across the bridge, and then back, then finish my walk. Probably no more than 8 minutes of running, but man it felt good. Could it be that I lost a few pounds and it's not as much pressure on my knee... who knows, but like James Brown sang..... "I feel good".... so I might try it again tomorrow.

Today was week 4 at our crazy quilt class. We learned silk ribbon work. Three different roses, and leaf stitches and we were given a few bouquet patterns. A few weeks ago I bought some varigated silk ribbons from I bought 2mm, 4mm and 7mm. So today in class, we practiced on a piece so our homework is to do some on our piece. Also, the silk ribbon can be used for any of the stitches that we've been using th floss and threads to do. I love the silk threads. This stuff is adicting. I started travelling to class with half a basket... now, there's not even room for my bottle of water and apple for a snack.
So in the past week, I've taken ideas from a few places. One of my favorite lines of stitching this week was inspired by a picture I saw on Crazy Quilting for Fun. She left me a message and is very encouraging. It's the 4th picture on this page. I looked at it all week, and then I did it from memory. Mine is not as nice, but I still love it. It's my favorite thing this week. Also, I put an initial on using just a
plain outline stitch. I liked it because I had a template readily available in my sewing/craft room. The last green and pink line is one I came up with totally on my own.
Next week BEADS. I'm so excited to start adding beads, but I still have quite a bit of lines to stitch before beading.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So, "What did I buy at Mardens" you ask?

Well you might have guessed... I bought Fabric, Fabric and more Fabric. I loved this table runner when I saw a picture of it on the internet. It's from a new NancyHalvorson book - 12 days of Christmas. I bought the book when I went to the Saint John quilt show a few weeks ago. Today at Mardens, I purchased fabric to make this runner.

I also got help from my shopping buddies to pick out the perfect fabrics for this baby quilt. I'm making one for Aurora and 2 others the same for friends who are having babies in February and March. Again this is from a Nancy Halvorsen baby book.

This is the fabrics that I purchased for the St. Dunstan's church quilt. They chose the Nines and Vines quilt that is on the McCalls website. This will be my Christmas sewing project and will give to the girls in mid-January. The off-white tone on tone fabric is under the colors.

I also bought a turkey and some fun different junk food for the kids this weekend.

Tomorrow - Week 5 of my Crazy Quilting class.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Run for the Cure - Fredericton raised over $325,000.

What a nice day for the Run for the Cure. Yesterday was sunny, cool and very exciting. Our Aliant team raised over $5000.
Thanks to all of you, especially my sister and her gang of friends, who contributed items for our auction, or made donations.
That's me - center with long sleeve white shirt. Actually they are run for the cure shirts, but they look white in the picture.
Next year, we're going to focus on getting kids involved. That should be fun. SEe all these little ones in this photo, they'll be able to do the 1k run next year. And I'll have a few kids there who can run too.
Tomorrow, I'm off to Mardens in Calais Maine for a fabric shopping trip with 3 girlfriends. I've got 3 projects I'm buying fabric for. I'll report in on Wednesday as to what I bought.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Grace and Melodie

About 6 weeks ago, Grace started horse back riding lessons on Saturday mornings. She loves, loves, loves animals. It didn't take her very long to get the hang of handling such a big horse. This horse is named Melodie and lives in a stable in Keswick. She's such a gentle horse. The trainer Nicole complimented Grace on the position of her heels and her good posting. (that's the going up and down on the sadle part). Grace was practicing steering Melodie by pulling on the reigns. Boy was I impressed with this little girl. Melodie got a carrot after the practice, for doing such a good job.

So, while Grace is horseback riding, Mitchell and Caitlin stay at home and do kid stuff. On Thursdays, we take Caitlin to swim lessons, and pretty soon, Mitchell will start his Hockey practices. These kids are growing up too quick.

That Darn Tart Hat

I was so excited to start the tart hat for baby Aurora. When I got home last Friday from my Friday Girls coffee with my borrowed double pointed needles, I started. The bobble pattern is a little confusing. Increase 5 stitches in one stitch every third stitch. That was no problem. The dec row is bringing those 5 stitches down to one stitch, and creating a bobble. The problem is on the decrease row, you have to knit 3 stitches together and slip 2 slipped stitches over. Get it.

Well, those decreases were murder. I suffered through my first set of bobbles and got ready to do the second set of bobble decreases and couldn't do it. So yesterday I posed my problem to the Friday girls and they suggested using a crochet hook. Great idea. I borrowed a crochet hook I came home and tried it and it worked great, as long as I slipped the hook backwards. I now have another row of bobbles done. I'm hoping to do 2 more rows of bobbles today and 2 tomorrow to get to the point of the hat where I decrease. And then I hope to have the hat finished for when baby Aurora comes on the Thanks giving weekend - next weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crazy Quilting - Week 3

Well, I didn't actually make it to my class yesterday, but I got a briefing from Linda Hubbard who teaches. So I have my homework for the week and we start on silk ribbons next week. I love the silks and can't wait to make the roses and other flowers.

So this week I tried my hand at combining stitches. Here I have a simple button hole stitch. It was too small so I added a single lazy daisy stitch to the top of every other buttonhole stitch. It still looked plain so I added 2 uneven straight stitches to act as leaves. It still looks plain. I think I'll leave it for now. I may add a few darker french knots or wait for the beading.

Remember in week 2, I had a single line of feather stitch. Well, I just added more to give this an under the sea look. I'll add a few more ribbony things with silk... I like how this is looking. The feather stitch is so forgiving and easy to layer.

So this weeks home work is to do a few lines of the rest of the basic stitches and to really spend some time looking at examples on the internet. This is one site that was recommended by Linda . If you go there, plan to burn a few hours... Man, it's an inspiring sight. She has a crazy quilt called I dropped the button box. It's got to be a world wide standard in over embellishing. I'm new to the crazy quilting world and have just gone there and I can't imagine a more inspiring site/blog. I bet all crazy quilters know her stuff already.