Sunday, January 20, 2013

I've been working on the Lotus applique design and it has taken some time to get things right in terms of size and proportion. I think things would go faster if I was a trained artist but I'm not. So here is what I have so far.

I will now start working on making my applique patterns, first working on the leaves, then the seed pod, then the Lotus buds and finally the actual flowers. This may not be the final arrangement since one I have the actual applique pieces done in the different fabrics I may decide to move a few things around or perhaps realize I may need to add something else or even take something out.

Then what I plan on doing for the diamond background area is quilting in a continuation of the Lotus pond with leaves, buds, seed pods and a flower or two. Here are some pictures of what Lotus ponds look like.

For the border quilting I'm thinking of coming up with a stylized Lotus flower design, hopefully it will work. 

So time to start working on creating the actual applique patterns.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tranquil Garden - Part 2

I finally have finished the background for the Tranquil Garden wall hanging. Here is what it looks like at the moment.

I was hoping to just use what I had in my stash for this project but I didn't have anything suitable for the outer border of which there was enough yardage. Most of what I had were FQs or slightly larger pieces and I needed more like a yard so that I had enough for the borders plus the binding. So last week I made a trip out to one of the few quilt shops that is left in Toronto Sew Sisters. I found a nice dark blue and teal Kaufman batik and it sets off the diamonds very nicely. So many quilt shops have closed in our city that now I have a major trip across the city if I want to get something. I do have to give Sew Sisters two thumbs up for having a pretty decent selection of batiks and the price was right at $10.98 a meter. You can check them out at:

Here is a close up of my piecing of the of diamonds. I'm very pleased with how the intersections came together and all I can say is that you have to have patience and you have to pin your rows together when you are joining everything.

Now I'm back working on the designs for the Lotus flowers, buds, seed pod and leaves. I've got some done but still more to develop and audition before I make my final decisions on which ones will make the final cut for the wall hanging. Enjoy your week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Balcony Visitor

I had an interesting visitor come to our balcony this afternoon. It was a bird of prey. I'm not sure if it was a hawk or a falcon but either way he was quite spectacular. He sat there for quite some time surveying the area for pigeons before finally taking off to catch his lunch.

Jordie eventually noticed something sitting on the balcony but he wasn't quite sure what this was. It certainly wasn't the normal pigeon or crow. He went and sat on the chair near the window and stared but didn't make his normal chattering noises that he makes for the regular birds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 New Years Goals

I hope everyone has had a pleasant New Years Day.  As in previous years I went out with friends last night to a lovely French restaurant to ring in the New Year. It was a great time catching up with good friends and a most enjoyable meal. Today has been a quiet laid back kind of day. I did some work on my Tranquil Garden wall hanging and also took some time to relax.

I've done my review of projects that I would like to get done this year, and here is the list. As always it will be interesting to see what gets completed, what doesn't and what new projects come along.

I also listed my UFOs that have no commitments at this time for completion and this list I only added one new project from 2011 so that's not too bad. I think as quilters it seems that everyone has the never ending supply of UFOs.

Jan: Finish Tranquil Garden wall hanging
Mar: Sawtooth Cats paper pieced quilt - new project, this is a pattern from City Quilter.  Here is the link and just scroll down about 3/4 of the way down:
May: Finish Tranquil Moments lap quilt.  This is the one I started on my last trip to Hawaii.
Summer: work on my reverse applique Sea Turtles quilt
Fall: Finish Falling Splendor quilt

UFOs that are outstanding: I wonder if any of these will come off the plate this year
Hawaiian orchid pillow – hand quilting
Small Wall Hanging (that was to go into a silent auction) – quilting done, need to finish beading and sew binding
Lone Star - project just started
"In full Bloom - Poppy" from Elaine Quehl's workshop - add borders and quilt

I'm certain that there will be other new projects that will come up during the year that aren't planned at the moment so this year I'm trying to leave enough space for those project to happen and then I don't have to put others on hold. I'm not planning on any seminars or classes this year but that also could change if I see something that really sounds unique or interesting.

Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 New Years Goals - Final Review

Another year is coming to an end, where did the time go?  First I have to say that I'm still working on the background for my Tranquil Garden wall hanging. I had the misfortune of the temporary design wall falling off the wall before I started sewing all the diamonds on. The good thing was I did have pictures of what it all looked like so I was able to put it all back the way it should be. That took almost as long as putting it up in the first place between getting all the diamonds picked up and sorted by shade and then making sure I got the right one up in the right place. I'm almost finished sewing the individual rows and then will just have to sew the rows together. That should be done this week sometime.

So today it's time to take a look at what I had set out as my goals for this year, what was I able to accomplish, what didn't happen and what else came along. First is a list of my original goals and what happened with each one.

Jan: Finish quilting the 2 wall hangings from Gloria Loughman’s workshops - completed
Jan: Develop my design for the reverse applique quilt "Sea Turtles" - completed
Feb: Create the "Sea Turtles" quilt top - on hold
Mar: Finish the quilt top "In full Bloom - Poppy" from Elaine Quehl's workshop - on hold
Apr: Design and create the quilt top for the shoe wall hanging called "Stiletto Heels" - cancelled
May: I'm signed up for Hollis Chatelain's workshop "Quilt Line as the Third Design Element" and need to bring in 3 quilt tops for discusion and quilt design creation. My plan is to take the "Sea Turtles", "In Full Bloom - Poppy" and "Stiletto Heels" quilt tops. - completed
Jun: Finish quilting "In full Bloom - Poppy" so it is ready to give to my mom for her 90th birthday in August - on hold
Jul: Attend Ricky Tim's Super Quilt seminar being held in Rochester NY. I enjoyed this so much when I went to Cape Cod back in 2010, that when I saw it being held so close to home, I figured it would be worth while to attend a second time and hopefully several of the gals from my small quilt group will also come. - completed
Jul - Aug: Finish quilting "Sea Turtles" - on hold
Sep: Finish quilting "Stiletto Heels" - cancelled
Oct: Finish Falling Splendor quilt  - on hold
Christmas charity quilt: Using blocks from the Friday Block Party 2009 - cancelled

Any time: 1: One block wonder quilt ( I already have the fabric and am curious as to how this will turn out) - never started
2: Start my own unique design of a Rhapsody quilt based on Ricky Tims techniques – the plan here is to have a completed design ready to start a quilt the following year, this in my books is a major project - never started
3: Create a landscape quilt based on the Picture Piecing techniques of Cynthia England - never started

UFOs that are outstanding: I wonder if any of these will come off the plate this year
Hawaiian orchid pillow – hand quilting
Kaffe Fassett – colour in design diamond quilt - cancelled and I donated the blocks and left over fabric to the community quilt group at my guild so that they can make somethng for one of the charities that they support
BOM: Drunkard’s Path Variations - cancelled (no longer have interest in this project)
Tranquil Moments quilt – quilting left to do
Small Wall Hanging (that was to go into a silent auction) – quilting done, need to finish beading and sew binding
In addition the following new projects happened in 2012:
Mar: Spirit of the Land - completed
Apr: Lone Star: - started and then put on hold
Jun: Oriental Odyssey - completed
Jul: Gerber Daisy Wall Hanging - completed
Oct: Alpaca Wall Hanging - completed
Dec: Tranquil Garden - started and to be finished in January 2013

So in addition to the 2 completed projects from the original list, 1 completed design and 2 seminars that I attended this year, I also completed 4 new projects and started 2 new ones of which the current one will be finished this coming month since it is a gift for someone and it needs to be given in January. I'm actually quite pleased with what I have been able to accomplish this year since I have continued to deal with medical issues for a good part of the year. After the doctors found a solution to the anemia and my blood levels were back to normal I was still dealing with a lot of fatigue so it was back to see more specialists and the thought was that it might be an autoimmune issue.

While I was in to see an ENT specialist for some tests he discovered that I had a lump on my thyroid. After several inconclusive biopsies it was decided to have both the lump and thyroid removed. That was the best decision ever since the pathology report did show that there was cancer in both the lump and thyroid. Fortunately it was caught in the very early stages and as of November I am in remission - YEAH!!! Also my anemia has stabilized since the surgery and I have not had to have any treatments in over 6 months. Somehow I think the two may have been related. I'm feeling much better, more energy and we even moved in November and I was able to pack up, clean and purge in Oct and unpack, sort and set up our new place and I still had energy for Christmas. What a difference a year makes.

So next I'm going to review what my goals are going to be for 2013 and then will post them hopefully on New Year's Day.

I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tranquil Garden - Part 1

Yes I'm back and have started a new project. October and November were busy with packing, moving and unpacking. Boy is that a lot of work and I swear stuff grows and multiples at night so when you wake up the next day you find that there is even more stuff to do and you wonder when will it ever end.

I finally got my sewing room back in order about 2 weeks ago and was then able to pull out fabrics for my next project called Tranquil Garden. This is going to be another wall hanging quilt similar to the Gerbera Daisy one that I did over the summer but this time it is going to have Lotus Flowers as the main theme. The background is similar in that I'm doing the 2 1/2" diamonds cut on a 45 degree angle. The colours for the background are in the blue green to teal to blue shades. I have just finished the layout and just did the last switches of a few of the diamonds and I'm ready to start sewing. I find that after I'm done laying out this kind of background I always leave it for a few days and then come back and will often find a few blocks that need changing because the are either too dark or light based on their neighbours. Here is what it looks like.

The Lotus flowers will be raw edge appliqued and again will be my own design. I actually was very fortunate that back in 2006 when I went to Hawaii for the first time I visited Allerton Gardens in Kauai and they had a Lotus flower pond on their grounds. Here are a few pictures from that trip.

I'm planning to include at least one seed pod since they are very unique looking as well as a bud or two amongst the actual flowers. Originally I was hoping to have this quilt finished by the end of the year but unfortunately the move took longer that I had anticipated so I think this will be a January finish.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone.  Yes it's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.  Soon the smell of turkey cooking will fill the air. Yes we are doing the traditional roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and pumpkin pie meal. Also going to have a salad so like most people more food than you really need but then everyone will be able to pick their favorites and if they don't like something they don't have to take any.

The leaves here are starting to turn colour but they are not at their peak.  Here are a couple of pictures that I took from my balcony this morning. I suspect it will be another week or so before the colours will be in full force.

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving Day and to my American friends a happy Columbus Day.