Monday, January 21, 2013

Last one

This is my final block for the winter round of the 4x5 bee. I am going to get them packaged up and ready for sending tonight and get them over to the post office by week's end. It feels good to have this checked off my list of things to do!

I will finish a couple more churn dash blocks tonight and then that will likely be the last of my January accomplishments. No, this isn't some Canadian way of counting the days cutting into my January sewing time, it is my other favourite pastime - travel! I am headed out of town tomorrow for a couple of days for work but on Friday, hubby and I are heading somewhere much warmer for a week - yay, sunshine and warm days - we are very much looking forward to that!

Happy Monday, everyone!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Work avoidance

I really do have a wonderful job which allows me to come and go between my office on campus and my office at home with great flexibility. I won't try to describe my job because what I do changes depending on what's going on, but today...(phooey)'s budgets. When I was asked to apply for my current position there was nothing - nada - written anywhere about having to do budgets. Now, for the record, I CAN do budgets (seriously, you gotta save some cash for fabric, right?) but I don't prefer to do them.

So after a meeting with our very nice and very helpful budget officer I came home with my stack of folders and set out to work on the budgets. And because it is Friday afternoon (which isn't helping) I have a bad case of squirrel brain. As in the movie UP!, where Doug the dog gets distracted by squirrels - squirrel??? Let me make this relatable - you know how you have ___ projects started already but you see something online or at a shop and you just have to start that right now? That's me, this afternoon, with budgets.

"Hmm, the sun is out, I should get some photos"
"Oh, maybe it's warm enough to BBQ, I should go pick up some steaks"
"I should get that meeting set up"
"I could throw in some laundry while I'm doing this"
"Hey, after I get the photos taken, I could blog"

Which brings me here:

This, as you can see, clearly has nothing to do with budgets. These are a couple more 4x5 blocks for my hive-mates; I hope they will like them.

And now, I need to go pick up some steaks get back to my budgets.

Happy Friday, everyone.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WiP Wednesday

Nothing big to show today but I did finish a couple of 4x5 bee blocks off. First, the one I made for myself as a practice block:

And then, there is the one for my hive mate who asked for purple and red on Kona Ash:
Of late, I have been interested in making what are often considered as fairly traditional quilt blocks out of modern fabrics. I think it works, and the look is completely different. My bee blocks pictured above are from Eleanor Burns' Underground Railroad Sampler book and the block, which has several names according to Eleanor, is Dutchman's Puzzle. Her method for constructing the block is excellent. I originally bought the book thinking I would make the quilt out of Civil War repro fabrics but, alas, my tastes have changed and I hate the idea of letting the book go to waste. I might have to keep experimenting.

Another traditional type block I really like is the Churn Dash. It occurred to me, a few weeks back, that my substantial collection of charm packs might sew up quite nicely into churn dash blocks. Especially when I have two of each, which I received as a member of Pink Chalk Fabric's Charming Monthly Solids Club last year. I am at a place where I want to make larger quilts and charm packs don't necessarily lend themselves the best to those types of endeavour; however, the are working out very nicely in these blocks. I figure that a club shipment (two charm packs and six fat eights of solid) plus some solid background from my stash should make me about thirty blocks total. A 4 x 5 setting should give me a nice sized quilt. So then I decided to set a goal to make one block per day. Even if things were really busy, I could treat myself to enough sewing time to get one churn dash block sewn. Halfway through the month, I am still on target, and this is what I have to show for my efforts:

The fabric is Domestic Bliss and it was the first monthly shipment I received!

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced today!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What goes around comes around...

...otherwise known (today) as Tuesday at the Table!

This was my lunch:

The photo doesn't do it justice, though I would have to say I think split pea soup has probably posed a challenge to more than one food stylist. This soup was absolutely delicious and came to me courtesy of my daughter.  There's a story...

A couple weeks back I made ham for Sunday dinner. I followed Gordon Ramsay's recipe which called for me to boil the ham in a big old stock pot of water decorated up with a few aromatics. After it simmered for the prescribed time, I glazed it and baked it off in the oven (it was delicious). Youngest daughter called dibs on the hambone before my roast even made it to the oven. After I had pulled the ham out, I noticed the broth it had been simmering in looked very rich and smelled amazing. Knowing she wanted the bone for making split pea soup, I asked her if she wanted the broth as well. She happily took it and today, she brought me back my empty containers and my own serving of her wonderful soup!

I might have to bake a ham more often.

Linking up to Tuesday at the Table today.


Friday, January 11, 2013


It has snowed up a storm here over the past twenty-four hours and I, for one, am sure not going outdoors without my mittens on! But...maybe not these ones...

This is my second finished project of the new year. The pattern is from a tutorial over at Sew4Home and the fabric and fixins' are from my stash. The directions are great; the trickiest part is making sure to clip/grade the seam allowances enough - there is lots of padding inside to keep those fingers from getting burned!

These have been made for someone specific. I usually bake up a storm in December so that we have lots of Christmas goodies around the house - we're talking bring out the big Tupperware here! This year, however, I'm not sure how time got away, but it did, and I had only a single batch of butter tarts to fill up my baking cupboard. On Christmas Eve the doorbell rang, and we opened the door to find a a guy who works with my husband standing there holding a huge tray of Christmas baking. He brought it over to my husband to say thank you for the work and for the friendship. I was so touched! I loved that a) he came over - without setting a date weeks in advance or making sure it was convenient (remember when our parents stopped in at neighbour's for coffee all the time?) and b) it was like a gift straight from heaven to get that baking. There were so many varieties of beautiful, homemade goodness on that tray. He told us when they used to farm back in Saskatchewan, it was tough to make ends meet so he and his wife would bake all these goodies and then go sell these trays at farmer's markets and craft fairs to help bring in some extra income. We thoroughly enjoyed this very special blessing!

So, I'm thinking they probably gave their oven mitts and potholders a good workout getting all those treats made so maybe a fresh set is in order. And I hope the warmth they feel when they use them is our gratitude and appreciation - and not a too-hot baking pan!).

And while I'm at it, I'll link up with Tuesday at the Table - make sure to go visit Deb's excellent blog!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First finish!

A few months ago, I was honoured to be accepted into do. Good.Stitches' HAPPINESS circle and in November, I took my first turn as a quilter. I requested Cartwheel blocks based on a pattern over at Freshly Pieced; I selected a colour scheme of red, blue, and green on grey backgrounds. The last blocks arrived just after Christmas so I spent the first weekend of 2013 putting the quilt together. I am so excited to report it is totally finished and ready to be a blessing to its recipient.

I am sad to say the weather is a bit dull for taking photos right now, but being part of this project has brought lots of light and sunshine to my days!  Despite having a great deal of wind today, I managed to get a shot of the entire quilt:

My circle-mates did an awesome job of the blocks, wouldn't you agree?


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday at the Table - New Year's Edition

First off, Happy New Year to all!

Wow! What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been. I wish I could say I had some final, 2012 finishes to show but alas, that isn't the case. I did finish off a few projects in time for Christmas Eve but didn't manage to take photos before giving them away. Some were sewn/quilted and a few were crocheted but all were fun to make! The past couple of weeks were rather chilly here in southern Alberta but the sun is shining today giving me lots of energy to re-organize the house after Christmas and get a few photos taken.

I have a couple of table-related photos and thoughts to share on this, the first day of 2013.  This year, I rebelled against making a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Day. I like turkey, but it is not my favourite. I also wanted to try hosting our big dinner on Christmas Eve, for a change. There were only six of us, but I set the table with festive dishes and lots of sparkling, glittering decorations and candles - I think it turned out really pretty!

Our menu was German-inspired, on honour of my heritage. We had rouladen, spaetzle, braised red cabbage, asparagus, and an assortment of wonderful Christmas baking for dessert. It was a lovely evening!

I have belonged to an online quilting group for almost ten years now and received the most gorgeous table as part of our annual Christmas swap.

The runner is long and narrow - just perfect for the sideboard I am dreaming of owning one day. The snowball blocks are small - two inches or so - and perfectly pieced, every last one of them! The snowflakes (they are on both ends) are wool and appliqued on to the runner - just beautiful! This is a wonderful addition to my Christmas and winter decor.

Linking up to Tuesday at the Table and wishing everyone the best for the year to come!