Thursday, March 31, 2011

dog quilt????

Crazy?  Husband installed hardwood flooring in the last few weeks.  The floors extend right through the  main floor of the house and are really gorgeous.  Webster liked the old carpet.  I love the new floors but I feel so bad for my dog.  Last evening I had this idea to make him a doggy quilt/bed.  I whipped this up after dinner.  9 " squares from a bunch of crazy vintage and thrift store fabrics, including a dog print square.  And the fabrics are all colour coordinated to Golden Retriever fur.  Very important.  My plan is to make a large, lightly stuffed pillow to slide into the quilt bed which I will make like a pillow cover.  If I do it that way, then I can wash the outer quilt/bed easily and the pillow will pop out.  I think he is going to be over the moon when he gets to test drive it for the first time.  Of course Webster has a bed in the bedroom but he needs to have a comfy place to snooze in the main living area of the house.  The whole shebang will measure about 45" square and make one large fuzz ball, a happy critter!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In like a lion and out like a lamb?

A couple of things.  First of all it was kind of nice to be back at school today!  And, thanks to the weather gods, the rain held off enough long enough for us to get all the kids outside at lunch time.  Phew!  I don't know about the saying about March's weather.  I think we are heading out of March like a lion too.  With a heavy rain warning in place!

I also had a mind blowing moment when daughter reminded me, on the phone, that she is finished, finished, finished with her nursing degree as of April 4!!!!!!  I cannot believe it.  She will still have her registered nursing exam in June but otherwise she is done!  Our little baby is all grown up!
Daughter about 20 years ago!  She is just so darned cute!

Quilty mail arrived while I was away.  The most recent edition of Quilter's World has a really great article written by Jacquie Gering who blogs at Tallgrass Prairie Studio.  It is all about modern quilting.  Nice!  And speaking of quilting magazines.  I kind of like this one.  I was having trouble finding a magazine that I liked consistently and that I liked more than just one thing in the magazine.  So Quilter's World isn't bad.  It's just not perfect.  If I was in charge of the world, a quilting magazine would have more articles, more stuff about fabric, a focus on techniques and less patterns.  Which is really what blogs are like, aren't they?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back at home and tired!

Well, crawled in the door last night in the wee hours.  San Francisco was awesome and it was a truly amazing conference.  And I did find time to visit one fabric store.  Just one.  But it was the famous Britex Fabrics right near Union Square.  It was sooooo exciting!  4 floors of fabric and not just any fabric.  Nope. I had my hands on Liberty of London cottons.  But that was it.  I just touched them and mentally drooled.  $49 a yard.  Yoiks.  Lovely to look at and to covet but wow!  That's a lot of $$$$.  I did find some lovely Kona cottons.

from the bottom that is Ash, Bahama Blue, Spring (I think...) and Honeydew Melon

 And a lovely remnant of gorgeous blue cotton that is almost silky in it's softness.  And they have such a way of wrapping their remnants.

 Incredible service and oh... I also found some perle cottons.  Just so darn pretty.

Even the bag is lovely.

And they gave me some postcards just because...

But I am so glad to be home!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The world is waking up

Spring is waking up the big woods.  The skunk cabbage (just such an unfortunate name for a lovely plant!)  is poking up everywhere and starting to flower.  Apparently the First Nations used to eat the roots of this plant or something.  One of my friends told me that she tried it was seriously awful.  She said it just about burned her mouth off.  I shouldn't find this so funny but I just do.  We think that this plant requires long and careful cooking to remove the bitterness perhaps.  So if stuck in the big woods and hungry... note to self, give plenty of time to cook your skunk cabbage.  Here is the funny thing too.  Bears apparently like to eat this wonderful treat.  I think this must mean that the bears will soon be awake and looking for lunch.

Perfect place for froggies!

And more lovely skunk cabbage.  And we never notice the smell of these.  I think that they might smell skunky under certain conditions but we don't notice it.  Thankfully.

Friday, March 25, 2011

another bag... why not?

Husband said another bag?  Ya, why not????  I said what do you think?  He said it has flowers and it looks girly.  So there you have it.  A flowery, girly bag made from this tutorial with a few tweaks...  Namely, I did not use purchased handles.  I did not feel like driving 20 minutes to the next town to look for bag handles so I made them.  I must admit that purchased handles would have dressed it up but I still think it is fun.  It was such a bright day when I took these pictures so the lovely fabric is a tad washed out.  And I hope to throw camera, book and sunglasses in this bag and stomp around San Francisco.  I am quite sure there is room in for some purchased fabric!!!!

And I used some home decor weight fabric from my fabulous local quilt shop.  And I have enough left to make something else.  Maybe a tool belt for Husband!?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

quilty mail happiness

I just love getting quilt-ish mail.  And yesterday was no exception.  I had placed an order from the Quilted Castle and it arrived!  It takes about 2 weeks.  I find the customer service is awesome and they often have great sales and bolt ends.  So every lovely thing was on sale.  Some of this is for a table runner for a friend.  And some of it is just because.

From top to bottom we have...

Leanika Brown floral by Dena Designers for Free Spirit
Hunky Dory Vines Blue Sky by Chez Moi for Moda
Nicey Jane Olive welcome road
Hushabye-brown owl stripe
Charm Bracelet by Windham Fabrics
Blush by Basic Grey for Moda Chocolate Cherish
and Essence Cherish  (in 2 pieces because that is what they had left)

Happiness!  And I have scheduled this post to land as I am in SAN FRANCISCO!!!!  Hopefully I can get to Britex Fabrics.  Apparently it has 4 floors of fabric amazingness.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Woohoo!! It's done and I love it!!!

Webster likes it too!  I am just so tickled with the bright happiness.  Cabin in the Hills!  And I am SO pleased with the quilting.  You can see that better from the back. You can also see the whacky pieced back.  I was seriously using up leftovers.  And you can see that we had an amazing spring day with bright, bright sunshine!

And Happy birthday to daughter's special someone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

breakin' out the walking foot

I decided to quilt my Cabin in the Hills quilt differently.  I am trying to branch out from free motion stippling.  Husband thought it was a good idea.  Wouldn't want to get in a rut or anything!!!  This quilt seemed to be asking for straight lines with the walking foot following the blocks diagonally.  And... it looks AWESOME!!  I am very, very pleased with it.  I also quilted in the ditch around the inner border.  So all that is left is the binding.  I am off to play cards with the gals tonight so the binding will have to wait until tomorrow.

I also made use of the quilting table that came with my machine.  I find it restrictive when I am stippling but it was actually quite useful when using the walking foot and quilting straight lines.  It helped manage the bulk of the quilt.  And it is just so darned pretty!  Scrappy binding is ready to fly tomorrow first thing.    Have a great rest of your Tuesday!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

too much fun!

Spring break could get addictive.  I must say it is nice having some time away from work!  Even though I really do love my work!!!  Yesterday I made some spring-ish covers for the couch pillows.  I did not even take a picture of them.  They got a test drive overnight and I confessed to Mum on the phone last evening that they did not send me.  Today I confessed to Husband that I thought they were pretty bad.  It was the fabric.  Blech.  He told me that I should have noticed the lack of accolades when I finished them yesterday.  I think he might have said, "Oh yeah."  Basically, he did not like them either.  So after a few minutes with my scissors.  I dismantled them completely.  I can use the fabric from the backs for something else and the fronts might just get thrift stored.  So then I made new ones.  I like these better.  Husband agrees.  I used some vintage fabric and some heavy cotton from my stash.  Much better.  Because I did not have that much of the vintage fabric, I did not make the pillows matching.  They each have their own personality.

Then I whipped up this snazzy tote bag using this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew!  I used a remnant from somewhere.  Husband thinks it looks like it is right out of the sixties.  The instructions for the tutorial were awesome and clear.  This is my first ever bag like this and I am sure to use the tutorial again.  Of course, I have made the Amy Butler Messenger Bag for Daughter but that was incredibly complicated.  This Sew Mama Sew bag was just pure sewing fun.  : )  And I might just take this bag with me when I hit San Francisco on Thursday!  I am off to a huge Education conference  and in my free time, I hope to find a fabric store or two!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's official... Spring is here!

Apparently Spring hit town at 4:21 pm, PDT.  So it's official.  And I spent the day sewing.  Husband was prepping for the hardwood floor installation.  What a lot of work that is!  We are living in a construction zone but it is all good because it will be glorious when he is finished.

I spent a lot of time piecing the back for Cabin in the Hills.  I used a lot of the leftovers from the blocks, the 2 extra blocks and a chunk of fabric from the local fabric store.  I bought it on sale months ago and it had a similar vintage vibe to the feedsack prints.  Webster was not being helpful when I was spray basting.  He was freaking out because Husband was bashing away on the fireplace with a chisel upstairs.  Apparently one must undercut things like fireplaces in order to facilitate the placement of the hardwood.  Who knew?  So the whole time I was crawling around on the floor downstairs, Webster was crying and trying to get as close as possible to me.  That meant he kept sitting on the quilt as I was trying to smooth and spray baste.  Not helpful.  But he was just so scared.  He must think that Husband has completely lost his mind with all the ripping out of carpet and bashing away at things.

So here is the back... before spray basting but after Webster walked on it a few times.  And yes, it appears that a chunk is missing from the bottom right corner but there are several inches of extra width.  No worries.

and a whole whack of scrappy binding ready to go.  I think I made way too much.  I didn't really measure closely.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cabin in the hills top-done!

In the late afternoon sunshine
After spending some quality time with my stitch ripper, my Cabin in the Hills quilt top is finished!  Husband thinks it looks like an Easter quilt and that I should find a big Easter Egg to wrap it around.  I think I was inspired by the beautiful spring sunshine and the green, growing grass.  The two solids I used seem to compliment the feedsack prints nicely.  The green is a mystery but I do know that the yellow is Moda Basics-Sunshine.  An apt choice.  And so far, everything is from my stash.  The crazy thing is that I still have quite a stack of the feedsack prints.  And all the little yellow squares... the 'fireplaces" are all in the correct orientation.  Phew!

I cannot believe the crocuses this year.  They are just gorgeous.  Drifts and drifts of purple ones.  This little one is in the middle of the mossy lawn.  And just so you know, we are huge fans of mossy lawns!  Happy spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

my stitch ripper is my friend... well sort of

Blast.  There I was.  Happy as a cupcake, thinking that I had successfully sewn my feedsack print log cabin block quilt top together.  All that was left was sewing the borders and then the top would have been complete.  I put it up on the clothesline to take a picture to show the progress and noticed a boo boo.  I must have been sidetracked when daughter phoned.  Or rushing because I knew I still needed to do my exercise or something.  So tonight I will sit with my stitch ripper and unpick several rows that somehow got turned around so that the little yellow squares are not in the right orientation.  BLAH!!!
Can you see the yellow squares that are in the wrong place?
There is a moral in this story.  Sure there is.  Something about a job worth doing is a job worth doing well. Or something equally annoying.  Oh... I like this one.  "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."  George Bernard Shaw.  So I will spend some honourable time with my stitch ripper this evening.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It's official.  I am on spring break.  First of all, it was a really lovely day at school before a lovely break.  The students have been working all week to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross for Japan.  They raised over $1500.  I must say that they had the most fun with lunch time Karaoke.  They had to donate to sing.  Really hilarious!  And one of my staff challenged all the grade 6 and 7 students to raise $250 and then she, my Vice-Principal, and I would sing.  Well, of course they raised that amount of money so yes, we had to sing.  Thankfully several other teachers joined us.  And we did STOP, in the name of love.  We are all such divas!  It was great!!  Who knew the kids would like Karaoke so much?!  I am so proud of how the students all pull together for things like this and raise money for positive and helping action.

Secondly, Husband has ripped up almost all the floors on the main floor and is getting ready to install hardwood.  Nice!  I have been having lots of strange mopping floor dreams though.

Thirdly, I bought a new camera.  Way too cool.  I can get super close up shots now without getting fuzzy pictures.  Husband and I did a lovely garden tour when I got home today to try it out.

And finally, my latest finished project tried out the clothesline today.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

here's the funny thing

Grampa, my Mum and I were thrift storing a bit ago.  Mum was down one aisle.  Grampa was checking out some stuff and I was cruising through the 'collectibles.'  It was the strangest thing.  It was like I was on auto pilot.  My hand swooped over and picked up the bowl that I have been hoping to find for maybe 10 years! Are you kidding me???  There it was a vintage Johnson Brothers Greydawn vegetable serving bowl.  I gleefully told Mum and Grampa that I have the lid at home for the bowl and have had the lid for at least 10 years.  Crazy I know.  Who buys a lid?  I just love the colour of this pattern so much and have some of the pieces, so years ago I found just a lid and I bought it.  I have packed it around through many moves and there it was... the bowl that needed my lid.  A perfect fit.  The perfect lid.  Grampa thought it was pretty funny.  I think he was surprised that I found the lid in the cupboard right away when we got home.  And here they are together.  Happy as can be!

And I am going to link this up to Sophie's flea market finds.  : ) check out other flea market treasures!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday in the rain!!!!

Oh Man!  It is really raining today.  I have to go back to school in a jiffy for parent-teacher conferences but I wanted to take a minute to share what Mum was up to, while I was quilting this weekend.  She doesn't just sit around.  Nope.  Not my Mum.  She is all about the have loom will travel idea.

Here she is weaving away on her Inkle loom.  I think that is how it is spelled.  She is cranking out some bookmarks for her weaving guild.  Something about give aways for a big gathering.

I was sharing my big table with her.  And before she started the bookmarks, she finished this length that will make a perfect handle for a bag from fabric that I picked up at the thrift store the other weekend.  She is just too darned clever.  Perfect colour match or what?  Now I just have to make the bag!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The next quilt!

Here it is!  On the design floor in the downstairs living room.  I am just so darned tickled with this quilt.  Husband loves that it is on the diagonal.   I used a Moda Bakeshop recipe as I mentioned before and the blocks came together quickly.  I used retro prints from my favourite local quilt shop's fabric by the pound sale.  Fabulous sale.  They sell off all their sample fabrics etc.  Just way too much fun.  I cannot count though.

Two extra blocks that I made in a pout because I thought I did not have enough.  I had started the pre-celebration.  Wahoo!  I made all the blocks.  Counted them decided I needed 2 more.  Obviously I had enough blocks.  Anyway...  I love the way this looks and before I quit for the day yesterday, I even sewed the rows together and they are now labeled and piled ready for the next step.  Adding the hills to the little log cabins.  Nice!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Almost done...

I was INCREDIBLY productive today.  My sewing machine did not squeak once.  Fingers crossed that the demon bird chirp has finally been subdued.  I have the new couch quilt ready to hand sew binding.  That will get done tonight in front of the TV.  Husband picked out the binding fabric.  I pulled several choices from my stash.  He always picks just the right one.  A solid green called...  I don't know what.

And I made great progress on the retro print log cabin blocks but I will keep that for tomorrow.  Mum kept me company and was weaving on her Inkle loom.  Have loom will travel.  

Today while enjoying breakfast and coffee, I noticed the first robins!!!!!  Nice to see them on the same day that the first tiny daffodil opened.  It poured rain all day.  Mum and I took Webster for a walk about the farm.   The rhubarb is starting to wake up.  Daughter will be excited to hear about that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday finally...

There are several things that made me very, very happy today.  Ducks landed in our pond.  That was the first happy thing.  Husband dug the pond out last summer.  He really just helped mother nature by creating a place for all the water to be in the low area of the field.  It was a lot of work.  And while we have had frogs and blue herons visiting, today was the first day we actually saw ducks landing with a splash and then spending some quality time doing duck things in the pond.  Nice!

Second happy thing.  Mum went thrift storing with me.  Totally fun.  Husband was bored however.  Even with a coffee.

Third happy thing.  Son and his lovely girlfriend came out for lunch.  Brought me some Mexican vanilla.  Awesome gift!!!!!  Brought Husband a snazzy wooden toy with pecking chickens.  He is in heaven.  Son and girlfriend just got back from Mexico.

Next happy thing.  One of my school families left Canada to return to Japan.  They were scheduled to arrive in Japan at about the time of the earthquake.  I sent an email and got a reply this morning.  They are all fine.  Tired and stuck in Tokyo but cannot return yet to their home as there is no power, water, etc.  They do not believe there is much damage to the buildings in their town.  How lucky is that when they were sooooo close to the epicentre?????

Another happy thing.  My sewing machine was just serviced a few weeks ago but it started squeaking big time again.  Argh!  I took it back this afternoon and they promised they would take care of it this afternoon.  Mum and I left it there and had some more thrift store fun.  Went to a quilt shop.  And then finally my sewing machine was ready for pick up.  It sounds absolutely delightful now.  And while we were waiting for him to put it all back together, I just happened to be looking at this...

The lady at the store said I could take it home today.  I said Husband would kill me.  She said I could take it home today and not pay a thing!!!!  Of course, I could hear the subtext.  This is what she was really saying.  "Take it home today and pay nothing.  Tomorrow pay buckets of money."  I took a brochure home to dream about.

Final happy thing.  On the way home, Mum and I decided we needed to de-stress with a stop a my fabulous local quilt store.  Buy one get one free bolt ends and a Sherbet Pips charm pack.  Happy times! It just feels good visiting this store.  It is just so pretty.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend filled with your own happy things!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

time for tea

Mmm, yummy!  What's the good of having a blog named Blueberry Patch if I never talk about the blueberries.  Yep, we have blueberries.  Husband and I pick a lot of blueberries in the summer.  We invite friends and family to pick blueberries and there are still too many blueberries.  Last summer we picked and picked and picked some more and then we decided enough already.  We walked from the patch and said good enough, we're done.  Overnight the birds came.  It was as if they were waiting their turn and that we would eventually put up the "Birds welcome!" sign and then they could feast.  It was most polite of them.  And feast they did.

Mum brought Grampa out for tea this afternoon.  Husband made a blueberry cake. And feast we did.

Blueberry Coffee Cake from the Fanny Farmer Baking Book
(best fresh from the oven)

4 Tablespoons butter, softened                   1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar                                              1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg                                                           1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla                                       1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup flour

Streusel topping  (and Husband says it is much more fun to double the topping!)
1/3 cup flour                                               1/2 cup sugar (and Husband used brown sugar he says)
1 Tablespoons butter                                  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                                   1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8 x 8" pan.
To make the cake:  combine butter, sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly blended.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Mix the dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture along with the milk.  Beat until smooth.  Spread into pan and sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the batter.

To make the topping:  Combine flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Work together with fingertips until light dry crumbs.  Spread over blueberries and bake 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Serve warm from the pan and give your Grampa a hug.  One for your Husband too if he made the cake or just because.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My basket is overflowing!  I try to be organized and with each project, I pop all the scraps into a large ziploc bag.  The bags are then stuffed with scraps that are in the same colour family or coordinated in some manner.  I am starting to have a lot of these bags.

They are escaping from the basket and starting to spread across the room.  And I always try to use a ton of my leftover bits when I am piecing the quilt back.  I usually use a good quantity of the scraps to add a row of interest to the back.  And I still have scraps.

So in the back of my mind, I am stewing about what to do with these.  I am noticing that a great many quilters are having similar thoughts and a number of scrap ideas are surfacing on blogs here and there.

And I have to confess that I have a guilty thought.  I have had this semi-crazy idea that I don't want to see these fabrics because after making a quilt from them, I may be a little tired or bored seeing them
so much.   I made the quilt so why would I want to see them again so soon,  in a use your scraps project unless it was really something interesting.  Maybe it is kind of like eating leftovers.  And here is a perfect Freudian slip.  I just noticed that instead of typing scraps, I actually typed "craps."  Doesn't that just say it all?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

spring flowers...

With all my talk about the lovely purple surprise in the back flower beds, I did not have a picture to show.  Husband took some photos for me today.  These little beauties are just trying so hard to yell, "SPRING!"  There are other definite signs of spring out and about the farm.  The wild ducks that live over at the big pond are obviously up to something.  I would guess it is serious twitter-pated nest building, duck lovefest but it is, in reality, a whole lot of quacking.  Serious quacking!

And some artful miniature flower arranging.  I only picked one (because I feel guilty picking more when they are trying so hard!) and paired the bloom with some Japonica branches.  I am hopeful that they will bloom inside.  You can see the swollen flower buds on the branches.

My favourite moment of the day has to be when a small Kindergarten girl told me that I was a pretty princess.  Made my day and put a little skip in my step.  It isn't every day that someone tells you something like that!  Happy Tuesday!