Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I've just spent some quiet time this Christmas Eve morning reading posts from all sorts of blogger's that I follow. When I look back on this 2014, I declare that it was a year of hits and misses. I am very excited to have found many interesting and lovely people who crazy quilt. 

I am sorry that I simply lost track of my own hosted Crazy Quilt Along 2014, but hope to do another one in the future. And I know many crazy quilters follow my blog and would heartily join up again. 

I did intend this one to be finished with scrappy dresden plates happily playing alongside daisies and it still awaits my ability to work on them.

I love this photo of carved faces in cottonwood trees I found along the trails of Riverside Park in Terrace, B.C. I enjoy traveling in our truck and camper.

 And then the numerous crazy quilted projects await me too. My life has taken a turn of reflection and has slowed down. There is no other alternative when sciatic nerve pain hits. You are a done turkey at that point. 

I must have an quarterly epidural to control the flashing of sciatic pain down both legs. But I know that if I stop and wait, let it settle down I'm good to go again in a few days. 
If you knew me personally, I had much to challenge me. I've rejoiced in my own ability to tolerate change, evolve and step out into a new light. Hope is with me all the time and the numerous blogs that I read are inspiring to me.

I look forward to doing more camping with my sweetie, visit our son in Edmonton. Catch more fish and enjoy life in a slower sense.

I'm so fortunate to have a man in my life who loves me no matter what. He has made fishing easier for me. He does the bulk work that I cannot do and he encourages me to keep quilting.

In each year my little quilting habit finds its way welcomed into First Nations communities where the vibrant smiling women share their skills as I share mine. We laugh and share friendships that grow each year.

Crazy quilting is going to always be a part of my life as I let go of other less important things in my life. We all must make choices and going to the pool, improving my ability to walk in warmer, non iced winter trails is a joy!

Like the pretty embroidery along this seam, I can walk more in the winter months if I live in the South Island.
Another move is in our future.

The pattern Midnight Over The Oasis is on my list for completion in the new year.

And so friends I've never met, you are important to me as I share my life's struggles and my joys in quilting. I still take commissions for quilts. I will continue to enter my work into competitions. I continue.

 I have love, family and not bad health as I learn to live a different way for my body.  Thank you for reading my blog posts and commenting on anything you like in my blog. 

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Christmas. May you all have love.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Victoria Modern Quilt Guild Christmas Party..

I plucked up my courage and attended the lively group of nearly 80 something members, I was a week kneed child as I stood and shared my "Beach House Crazy Quilt" to the members. Such lovely women and 1 man welcomed me with open arms. People wonder of what it must be like to quilt. Followers online tell me that people are interested in reading your story.

This member below made this beautiful quilt for her father who is a retired navy officer. These blocks are all navigational signs used while at sea.

Stuffed toys are so much fun to make at this time of year and this VMQG member has a lovely laugh and smile to go with it.

This member shared this awesome small zippered tote perfect for my hand embroidery supplies.

This gorgeous quilt is machine quilted by a quilter that is going to do some for me later on.

And this is my mug and rug to trade with at the VMQG year end party.

I'm sorry to not have updated you all with my new studio, its crapped and fun to share with my son as its his office where my new studio is located. 

Happy Christmas to all.

Happy New Year to you and yours. We'll see you in the new year.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hand Sewn Log Cabin Block Tutorial

I invite you to give this tutorial a go. I open my heart to hand stitching in my desire to feel the thread being drawn through the two simple layers of cotton. This is an invitation to slow quilting.

I've said it before, its my therapy. The simple act of threading a hand sewing needle and actually sewing two pieces together is rewarding in a sense of self mindfulness. It became my therapy for this reason.

You'll want to assemble at least 6 dark scraps and 6 light scraps. Cut these strips into 2 in. width and carry on, replenishing your supplies with scraps of dark and light, you'll get this organic looking quilt that speaks to somewhere soft and cuddly in everyone.

So starting is always two squares any size. In my case, I chose to start with 2 inch squares, one 2 in. square the red color I like to start a log cabin block with and an alternate color, light or dark. In the above photo, you can see the simple running stitching I do with a tiny french knot at each end. With ordinary hand stitching thread, the french holds tight and disappears.

This is what you'll see after you have finger pressed the seam of the two squares. Sew on an alternate piece the length of the two finger pressed squares.

Then this is where you'll start forming your log cabin. Remembering that when you doing this all by hand I keep simple two bags of dark and light color. 

So in this photo above, you'll see that a straggler of blue is still hanging on because I also cut all these tail ends off with a simple scissors. I do not have the time to stand and cut individual pieces of  log cabin strip pieces.

I have used dark thread for demonstration purposed only, I would use a taupe otherwise, its a color of thread that seems to go with everything, don't you agree? I have yet to press any blocks  until they are all pieced. They always turn out square.

I load onto my large eye chenille needle a series of three to five stitches and carry on across the whole seam. Fold over the fabric and finger press your new hand sewn seam!

After you've added on a few strips, you'll begin to see how super simple, made for easy going folks who like slow quilting and your blocks will be square.

 In some ways, the needle and thread of my crazy life is always my constant. in my life a needle and thread is always available, easy and relaxing.

It is my hope that this be your first block hand piecing without a sewing machine. Its my little gift to you. If you decide to make this block and fall in love with hand stitching, please leave a comment with your email address if you are a non reply. I love to hear from you!

 You can make this simple block hundreds of times without the use of a sewing machine and finish off a total hand stitched quilt top with this little tutorial. 

Good luck and good stitching!


I'm linking up with The Needle and Thread Network.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sunny Seaside Sunset

A classic sunny day on the shores of Vancouver Island came knocking on our door. The fresh coffee in traveling cup and away we went.


From Victoria (on the map above), to the Port Renfrew, we wove our way along the seaside. It was quite a relaxing time as we drove along checking out new country. My thoughts were of my friend Nola, whose rugged independence as a Northern woman had somehow missed this beautiful part of B.C. and so I dedicate this post to you Nola, my quilty friend!

The trail that winds around huge tall cedar trees is a well worn but rugged path. You really must keep your eyes on the path as it changes from step to step. If you visit Jordon River Regional Park, you'll find a lovely west coast trail that took me back 30 years to my youth. Nola, remember hippie's and the Clayquot Sound Protests? I do as I watched and learned about the devastation of forests so precious they are as important as the trees of the Amazon who are constantly 24/7 cleaning our air.

The west coast landscape speaks loudly to remind you of the world's fragile state. Yes, hold on now, I'm just saying!

 Steps or stairs are not something I can take fast like I used to be able to do. 

I counted 74 steps in stable ground around the roots of trees that sprouted probably 600 years ago minimum. They mesmerized my brain and spoke gentle words of encouragement at each of my steps. They have seen thousands upon millions of people and wildlife step, bounce and slide over their huge roots. Then you step up one more time and you see this!

Imagine yourself popping into the dozens of thrift stores, seeing Used Furniture stores on almost every block. Plus, as you go along you can pop into Tim's and pick up your favorite coffee and donut and go to all those places you love to nose around in? Nola, if you actually came here to see scenes like these you'd question why you don't live here? Its that beautiful.

As you wind your way along this highway that is pretty busy until you get past Sooke. You'll see some interesting outback properties that boast several used trucks and junk decor. Amazing million dollar summer homes that get some weekend use are pleasantly dotted along the sunny seaside. Parking areas are great for catching a few zee's while your partner para-sails the waves.

We stopped and took interesting walks into numerous trails, this one with a light touch of frost was very Christmasy for the south island.

Eventually, are weaving lead us to Port Renfrew, B.C. and this quaint little coastal village is very homey and organic.  I love this next photo for that reason.

As the hours of daylight began fading we got one more walk alongside the driftwood strewn beach of  Port Renfrew. Rusty totally thrilled to be visiting new places with more squerrials to chase, could life be any better?

Then after a quick cutting session with Rick as we gathered salal branches and cedar boughs for Christmas wreaths. We noticed that somewhere soon we'd see some awesome sunsets from this little moving photo as we sped to open beaches dozens of miles away.

And there it was just as the car rounded a corner into Jordon River the community, we saw this magnificence. Enjoy!

Its almost just like I had painted this scene with brush strokes across fabric? Any waivers on how soon the sunset becomes a quilt?

Happy Quilting Nola, hope you enjoyed a look at a tiny part of Vancouver Island. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jen's Beautiful Midnight Over the Oasis Pattern

I participated with the lovely Jess of The Elven Garden who hosted the Jen Kingwell's pattern "Midnight Over the Oasis."

I'm going to be completing this beautiful quilt this winter! So I thought it would be fun for you to see my incomplete Midnight Over the Oasis quilt top and to see all the other images on Google just for fun.

You  can go here to see the hundreds of other images using this pattern. Its been a great experience for me to use someone else's pattern with only a few minor changes. I will make more of this one pattern as I fell in love with it.

Happy Quilting,


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Adventures in Victoria

Hello everyone,

I bet you are wondering what has happened to me right?

Well, we decided to take a little trip to Vancouver Island and see if we can establish a winter home in a temporary sense. Its been lovely weather and windy/rainy weather, so hence no photos of the nifty shops, museums and restaurants that we've eaten fabulous food.

The balmy, warm days of the south coast of Vancouver Island. Victoria, B.C. is really the Canadian version of the warm seas of more tropical parts of the world. 
Without the swimming on warm beaches, we can take long walks on shell strewn cool beaches, where you can watch the placid Strait of Juan de Fuca loll your mind into total relaxation.  

Except, we need a place to hang our hat instead of the spare bedroom. Our Rusty girl is down right confused with the all day eating schedule of the dogs here and without exception has gained a few more pounds that will have to come off our aging female Shepard/Labrador cross. 

So just wanted to give you some insight into my life right now and soon, I will have that Log Cabin tutorial done really soon after I'm settled and have more time away from travel trailer shopping. 

Hope you are all having a great time preparing for Christmas and here are a few of the quilts I brought along to spruce up my new travel trailer. Plus, gifts and fun stuff that I am working on.

I'm slowly working on this Lumber Jack crazy quilt for our son Jon. Who actually completed the inner lumber jack back in the 1990's when we were home schooling and this was his chosen textile project, not bad for a 10 year old boy. I began doing the crazy quilting around it to finish it.

So, I'll leave you with The Story of Stuff, which we all suffer having too much stuff! 

Click on the arrow to view this awesome description of how we accumulate way too much stuff.

Happy Quilting everyone, I'll soon be back to my regular postings and having fun sharing my new adventures!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Canada Blogathon-Hand Pieced Log Cabin

I just love hand work of any kind. When I considered participating with Sew Sisters Blogathon Canada, I wanted to invite anyone who wants to sew, anyone who sews into the joys of quilting. I aspire to become a slow quilter. For me this is where sewing is best empowering to anyone, even those who don't have a sewing machine can sew.

Simplicity is where my mind spends time. Using up fabric from clothing, from antique blocks hand sewn by another and miraculously find their way into my hands.

Many of you follow this blog and the hand work of embroidery that I do to inspire your own work in whatever form that takes. 

This inspires me and around we go.

Sew Sisters shop located in beautiful Toronto, Ontario is a shop that is bricks and mortar as well, its an online shop for our pj's shopping experience. For me, living so far from everything, I drool over the kits and fabric supplies offered at their shop. 

It takes a bunch of time and effort to organize a "Blogathon" and with their huge resources at their their site, its a wonder I get anything done!! :)

I decided to show you my method for making a log cabin quilt, mostly hand stitched without a line to follow. I made our son Paul a Log Cabin for his graduation with 1.5 in. strips collected over his entire childhood and his choice.

Then I hand quilted the entire thing over one winter, the love and attention to my stitches give the quilt a "hand made look."

I posted these log cabins done by machine piecing earlier this year. I've begun to get comfortable with the life changes that have arrived in my life and quite simply, it means a slower pace and slow quilting is my mantra.

Over this past summer, I moved totally into hand piecing the remainder of these log cabin blocks. 

The block above is all pieced to completion without a machine, without pressing and without any lines on the 1/4 inch edge of cloth. I cut strips off of all scraps and even my yardage is a quick way to get ready and organized for hand piecing. 

I work from two bags, one with lights and one with dark's. I also cut red squares because I love starting all my log cabins with a red square to keep with the old fashioned start of the warm hearth in the center of each log. You can see that my stitching is not what some would call perfect, it varies slightly and overall, no ill effects are seen or discovered late in the game.

My work area in this shot is missing my lap surface, but I've make hundreds of stitches without the hand surface made from fabric and cardboard. I intend to make up a handy tute for a portable work surface.

I have also made a zippered small bag to catch all my little clippings and threads so my living room space or the car is left without a scrap!

These two bundles are in the works for some pretty zippered bags for Christmas gifts! Thanks for dropping by to visit and do go and visit others participating with Sew Sisters Blogathon.

I see that I am a tad late, but no worries, do visit

for a full listing of all participating blogs. Plus there is a giveaway!

Blogathon Giveaway Moon Shine in Strawberry

Happy Quilting!


Slow Stitch and Quilting

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