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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lasting Impressions


Well, hello September!  
I tried to slip this post in yesterday,
but it interfered with my nap.


Do you ever wonder what people remember about you?  Twenty-odd years ago, before Joann Fabrics went the impersonal superstore route and instead, had intimate little stores throughout the local communities, when customers counted, when staff were knowledgeable, I worked there part time for about three years for fun.  And it was fun.  We were a little family.

Last spring, while I was spending time in Massachusetts, I ran into one of the women I worked with. She was one of the few who continued to work for the company after they closed down all their stores and opened the one big one that was too far away for most of us to commute to (or shop at).  When I asked her if she remembered me, she said, “Oh, yes!  When I was getting ready to make my first quilt, a log cabin, everyone said I had to use red for the centers of my block, but I didn’t want to.  You said it was my quilt, and I could use any color I wanted to!”

Hearing that memory made my day!  I like that I made that lasting impression!

I don’t think I’ve ever made a log cabin quilt.  But JulieKQuilts has started Log Cabin Loonies, and since I had a little pile of 1” strips left over from making arrows, I decided to join in.




My goal is to make 16 of these 4” log cabin blocks to make into another pillow for the annual nursing home initiative sponsored by one of the members of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild in Halifax.  This isn't necessarily the final layout.  I added one more block after I took this picture this morning.

As well, I’ve been using up more flying geese triangles to make another pillow similar to the one I showed in my last post, only opposite placement of colors.



It takes 64 2.5" squares to make a 16" pillow top.


The first pillow top came out great!  



I have less than 20 arrows to make before I can wrap up this challenge.
I'm growing quite weary of these fabrics,
and I am more than ready to move on!


My scrappy churn dash blocks by Crazy Mom Quilts
continue to grow in number.




Someday they'll make a beautiful quilt.

I say someday because I will be linking up with 




to celebrate the almost completion of an 11 year old UFO.
Don't judge me!  There are extenuating circumstances.  
Maybe not exactly extenuating.




Eleven years ago, I started a signature quilt 
to commemorate my sister's 25th wedding anniversary.  
I thought it might be nice if she rec'd it one day.




I constructed each block from randomly placed scraps 
to measure 18.5" unfinished and hand quilted them.  
Fat quarters only measure 18" wide, just saying!




And I've just finished QAYGing them together.  
The binding will go on today.

I kept the quilting pretty simple.



Lots of hugs and kisses.

My sister and her husband are naturalists like me,
so I tried to reflect that in the fabrics I chose for each block back.




For example, bugs and butterflies...




Point?  Eventually, I finish everything!  
Some projects take a little lot longer than others.
I'm certain, in this case, Little Sister will be pleased.

And on that note, I leave you with some hummingbird tidbits.
They are getting ready to head south
and are frequenting the feeders more often.
With this heat, I've been changing their hummingbird juice almost daily.

Here is a picture of the rare Northern Black Hummingbird.


Not my picture.  Someone tweeted it a while back.
Enjoy the long weekend!
Stay safe!

~Karen






Saturday, August 11, 2018

Peas in a Pod


Oh, my goodness,
there are so many beautiful quilts to make.  
There are new ones posted every day.  
I overwhelm myself flitting around the Internet.  
I’ve pinned hundreds.  
I have a folder in my desktop labeled Patterns, 
and it’s chuck-a-lucka full. 
I had to stop purchasing them, I have so many,
but it's so hard! 
I have to keep reminding myself 
that I just can’t make everything I see!

Often, I find new-to-me blogs, and when I take a break, 
I enjoy a little scroll through their archived posts.  
I do that a lot with my favorite blogs, too, 
sometimes scrolling back years.  
Do you ever do that?  
Two new-to-me blogs that have recently caught my attention are

In an attempt to only use the fabric I have,
I have found it very fulfilling this summer to return 
to the roots of my quilting journey - good, old fashioned scrap quilting.  
Utility quilts, if you will.

In my previous post, I mentioned that a sweet friend brought me a bag 
of her scraps  and left over pieces 
that had been cluttering up her sewing space for far too long.
Just what I needed.  More.
What to do, what to do.
I graciously accepted the bag
and while I was sewing later in the day,
I remembered this quilt that Louise of My Quilt Odyssey had made,




and I started pressing, cutting, and sewing as a leader/ender project.
Louise provides links to her inspiration,
if you pop over and take a peek.
She also has more pictures of her lovely creation!

And here's mine, sans the binding,
which was only finished late last night.




I am going to gift this to my only nephew
and his delightfully sweet bride-to-be next month.
They make their home in rural Maine.
I wanted to give them a quilt that they will use,
not deem 'too pretty', and shelve.




I was excited to finish the flimsy 
because I already knew exactly how I'd quilt it.




Peas in a Pod added just enough movement
and a little bit of whimsy!

The label will be stitched onto the back this evening,
and it will be a finish!  
Finally, a finish!
My first this summer!


(Click on picture for a clearer view.)

This is already pretty wordy for me,
but there's more.
The scraps generated from this quilt generated MORE!
What to do, what to do?

So I started another quilt
using a pattern from Stephanie Dunphy's book,
Too much fun!



Too big for the design wall,
it had to be layed out on the design floor.

But wait!
The scraps generated from THIS quilt
resulted in MORE scraps!

I couldn't help myself.



These are the corners from the flying geese in the arrows.




This will finish as a 16" pillow
for a nursing home initiative hosted by
a member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild
in Halifax.  
It will be perfect for a male resident.

I think that's it.
Let me check my picture cache....
........Yep, that's all there is!
Whew!

Sewing is slow.
The weather is hot but beautiful,
and here in Cape Breton, we waiting a long time for it,
so I've been busy out of doors.
It's raspberry and blueberry season,
we're rebuilding my front deck,
and the grass keeps growing 
despite the lack of rain and the oppressive heat.




I leave you with one last picture that I took 
while birding in a cemetery 
in Portland, Maine this past spring.

Cemeteries are great birding spots during migration, 
often being the only dark spots among the city lights
where hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tired birds
can finally drop down
and find respite
from their long journey.

Thanks for popping in!
Have a wonderful, funderful day!
~Karen



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Scrap Frenzy


Focus has been my word for 2018.  
I’m one of those quilters who has multiple projects in the works
at one time.
I thought maybe I should just work on one project until it’s finished.
But that didn’t last long. 
I am in a scrap frenzy!
I think I need an intervention!

It all started when a quilty friend came to visit
and presented me with a bag of scraps
that had been cluttering HER sewing space for too long.
But that's a whole 'nother post!

In the meantime, I started a quilt in Texas
from leftover fabrics, in my attempt to use what I have,
and brought it back to Cape Breton to finish.




I have always been a big fan of Wendy Sheppard,
who shares her wonderful skill and creativity over at Ivory Spring,
and I wasn't surprised when I spotted this quilt 
and discovered it was hers!
Not only that, but it's a free download from RJR Fabrics!
And, the blocks finish up at 16" square,
which is perfect for a pillow
in ANY fabrics!
Ask me how I know!

I didn't have enough large solid scraps to make all the blocks,
but this one finishes up at 52" by 70",
and I'm okay with that.

I love to work with scraps and 'grow a quilt'.
To me, it’s like tending a garden.
Sometimes it takes a few years to complete a flimsy.
I’m okay with that!
So, while I have the solid scraps on the table,
I'm working on this:



You can see another scrap project peeking out at the top.
There is one more on the 'design floor'.
And one being quilted on the Janome.
I can't stop myself.

See?


Every little scrap!  These squares are 1/2" finished!

Help!

Maybe if I cleaned off my cutting table,
I wouldn't feel so compelled?
Naw!  What's the fun in that?

BTW, the tutorial for the cute little pincushion is here!
If you scroll through Karen's archived posts,
you'll see lots of cool stuff!
Sometimes, that's what I'll do. 
I'll choose someone I admire, then go for a nice, long scroll.

Thanks for popping in!
I love it when you come to visit!

~karen





Wednesday, June 27, 2018

One Monthly Goal - Check!


I'm running low on patience with my Dell computer,
so this will be a short post
to link up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts
for




My goal was to do something I seldom do....
finish a BOM/QAL.




I proudly present my 
(Texas) Star Spangled BOM

All my close up shots were blurry,
but I am on Instagram,
secret code name -  ksroy54
(kaholly was taken, but isn't being used, hmmmm)
and my blocks are there.
Somewhere.

While I was attempting to take pictures this morning,
I had to share my tree with a Hairy Woodpecker,
who was undaunted by my presence.




Computer issues always put me in a sour mood,
so I leave you now before I say
something I might regret!

Enjoy your day!
~karen

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Jiggity Jig


It's been a blustery, cold spring in rural Cape Breton.
The thermostat reads 50*, but it feels more like 30. At least it's not raining anymore.
I've returned later than usual this year
and thought I might have missed the usual cold spring.
Oops!

It was certainly raining when Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter,
drove us safely for our first annual meet up with Linda, the Scrapmaster, and
at a delightful little quilt show sponsored by



and Sheila's home guild.
She was our personal tour guide!
Here are a few pictures.


Lesley and Sheila

Linda and Sheila


Lesley and Linda

Sheila with her award winning Splendid Sampler!

Lesley admiring another beautiful example of Sheila's work.

On the homefront,
I've been getting a little sewing accomplished,
inbetween mowing the lawn,
which is more like a field right now,
and trying to get into sync with being back
after a long winter away.,
It might be cold, but it's peaceful here.


Early morning calm.  I can't resist reflections!
This is the view in front of my house.


The ocean smells so good when I step out the door to greet each new day
and the birds are singing from sun up until sun down.





Happy to be reunited with my sewing machines,
I'm working on the Star Spangled BOM
by Lindsey at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.
Lindsey was kind enough to send me the directions for the last
two months early so I could kit them up and bring them back to finish.
My Star Spangled BOM has a Texas theme
made from the leftover fabric from another long ago project.
Completing the blocks and sewing them all together into a flimsy
 will be my One Monthly Goal
for June.


Hope your week is off to a great start!
~Karen



Monday, May 14, 2018

Last Leg of My Migration


Mid-May in central Maine
is a lovely time and place to be,




especially if you don't mind bugs.
After all, bugs mean birds!




But I draw the line at ticks, I'm afraid,
and I loathe to leave the deck
because this is
"The Year of the Tick".
Eeeeee-ew!

Earlier in the winter,
I mentioned making Owlivia pillows from my scraps




to donate to the local police department
for them to have on hand when a call involves a child.
They are just the right size,
smaller than an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper,
to not be cumbersome for tucking in the cruiser,
but large enough to cuddle and bring comfort.

I went through all of my larger scraps,
cut them to whatever size I could get out of them,
then Crafty Daughter sorted through them, matched them up, 
and did the non-sewing steps to make these.

A few of you reached out to me
when trying to make some,
so I thought I would share my addendums
to Sandy Gervais' great tutorial.

Most of the difficulties were with the eyes,
so this is where I will begin.
Sandy used a circular pattern that was printed 
on the fabric to construct her owl eyes,
but that is not always possible,
so I figured out how to use yo-yo's instead.
I think they add nice dimension to that
cute little face!




After a little trial and error, I settled on a 3-3/8" circle
 cutting it out just beyond the traced line,
hmmm, maybe 1/8".
I stitch just kissing the outside of the line along the raw edge,
then pull tight.




 I use a 1.25" circle and a 5/8" button as templates
to cut the whites and the pupils from felt for the eyes,
stitching first the pupil onto the white,
then the white onto the yo-yo.

Sandy uses buttons for the pupils,
and a dolls head needle to attach the completed eye 
clear through to the back of the owl's head.
I did my first several owl pillows like that, too,
but for this batch I nixed the buttons 
because I didn't want any small children 
to choke on them, and I used a hot glue gun
to adhere the completed eyes.
.
Two other little things I do to make them easier for me 
are pictured below.
I use tracing paper for my pattern
(you sew on the lines, then tear the paper away).




And I leave at least a half inch for turning under
and stitching up.




I get so frustrated trying to accurately turn under
a quarter inch.
I avoid it whenever possible!




This is not meant to replace Sandy's tutorial,
just to augment it,
so be sure to begin here
if  you would like to make one.

If gifting them, I will couple them with either 
the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen,
or the chapter book Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat, 
depending on the age of the child..

I hope this helps anyone who would like to make 
something different for gift time!
Or perhaps some of you would like to do something different
for your community project.
It doesn't matter if your fabric is ugly,
because when they are completed,
they are all adorable!

Enjoy your week!
Cape Breton,
here I come!

~Karen





Sunday, April 29, 2018


If I am going to squeeze in an April post,
I guess I had better do it today!
My absence has not been for lack of sewing, 
just the inability to stop long enough to boot up the laptop.
(Have I mentioned lately how much
I hate my (Dell) laptop?)

I was getting ready to make Crafty Daughter
a shoulder travel bag,
(aka diaper bag *wink*).


It took me a week!  Three days just to cut out the pattern!
But it was worth every minute.


She can wear it comfortably as a cross body bag,
or simply slipped upon her shoulder.



I learned many new techniques,
one being the insertion of a magnetic snap on the outer pocket.

Although it was a lot of work,
I'm hoping she wants a new one next winter.
I wouldn't mind making it again
and making some changes to better suit her needs.

In the meantime, small projects have prevailed, 
in the vain attempt to use up my scrappy stash 
so I can start anew next winter. 
 And, as always, the more scraps I cut up and Sew, 
the more scraps I generate!  They just keep getting smaller and smaller!
Thank goodness for Crazy Mom Quilts.
I have been having lots of fun with her
scrappy churn dash blocks.
Sorry, no pics.
Yet.


I’m less than a week away from my annual spring migration 
to the northeast corner of the continent!  
I’m truly looking forward to a week long visit in Maine with my sister, 
and finally arriving at my Cape Breton summer destination 
on May 12th.




Just a little heads up:
It pays to shop around.  I have been looking for a roll of Heat'n Bond Lite to take back to Nova Scotia for a Quilty friend.  Joann's doesn’t carry it in the stores, but it is available online for $19.95 plus shipping, which if I remember correctly, is $8.00.  So, I checked on Amazon, and found it for $10.34, free shipping with Prime.  Today, I was wandering around our local Walmart, which has resurrected a very small sewing department, and there it was, for only $7.97.  I had just placed the Amazon order, but I'll remember next year!

*

I leave you with a bird picture.
This beautiful male cardinal was framed so prettily,
against a gorgeous Texas sky,
during a mid-winter visit to a state park,
I couldn't resist snapping his photo.


As always,
thanks for visiting!
Sorry it's been so long.
I'll share more pictures next time.

XO,
Karen