Friday, 29 July 2011

What's a Summer Fair Without an Amish Rainbow Wedding Ring Quilt and Blueberry Crumble Cake?

Gen X Quilters Summer FairWelcome! When I saw AnneMarie's post about hosting an online Summer Fair, I thought it was a great idea.

I love fairs. When I was a kid, we'd always go to the Markham Fair, just north of Toronto. It was one of those traditional fairs -- livestock competitions, quilt competitions, great food (mmm, fudge and cotton candy), games and tons of neat toys to buy (or win). One of my fondest memories is buying my own Rubik's Cube at the fair. Instead of the stickers, it had plastic tabs so you couldn't cheat. I never solved it the darned thing, but I played with it constantly. We always had a great time at the fair and looked forward to it each year.

10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow
I'll start with my quilt entry. This is my Amish Wedding Ring quilt, which I call 10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow. It's a replacement wedding gift quilt for my husband because the quilt I had originally designed and planned on making for our wedding was just not working.

This quilt is a pattern by Linda Denner in Quick and Easy Quilting (February 1997) magazine. Never before tempted to try a wedding ring quilt (those curves scared me!), I fell in love with the simplicity of this quilt's design and the precision of the star blocks. The star blocks are paper pieced and the rings are all hand pieced. It's machine quilted (walking foot - never again!) with rainbow variegated thread and has a bias black binding. Wow, did I learn a lot while doing this quilt! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and so is the hubster. I'm not sure I'm completely off the hook for the original though because he really liked the design. Maybe one day...


10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow
 
The back

The rainbow variegated thread on the back

Detail of the back

Blueberry Crumble Cake
Now for the recipe. I'm one of those folks who figures that if I'm going to go to the effort of making dessert, then it had better have chocolate in it, and lots of it. Let me clarify that I'm only talking about the desserts that I make; I love anything anyone else makes for me! I do have a few exceptions to my chocolate dessert philosophy and my mom's Blueberry Crumble Cake (I think some people call it a buckle or a bumble) is one of them. Since it is blueberry season here, I thought I'd share this recipe with you. It's awesome warm from the oven (and it reheats very well) with whipped cream or ice cream. I hope -- no, I know -- you will like it. Melt in your mouth goodness!
Ingredients:
Cake:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cup sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 cups blueberries

Crumb topping:
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup butter (diced)

Directions:
Cake:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Blend egg into creamed mixture.
3. In another bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add flour mixture alternating with milk to creamed mixture, beating after each addition.
5. Gently fold in blueberries (with fork) into batter and pour into a greased and floured 8” x 8” pan.
6. Mix together ingredients for crumb topping and sprinkle over the top of the cake batter.
7. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Check top feel with finger. Must sponge back. If it doesn't, bake it a little longer until it does sponge back.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution to the Summer Fair. If you get a chance, go check out the other participants by visiting GenXquilters. Thanks for hosting, AnneMarie!

I'll be on vacation for the next few weeks and won't be able to update my blog. Until next time...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Works in Progress #11

Busy, busy week! Birthdays, visitors, and lots of summer fun, with a little quilting thrown in. What more could you ask for? My sister and niece arrived yesterday for a visit. It's so good to hang out with them. My sister brought along her second quilt that I am helping her finish up. It's Japanese fabric that she purchased through Kallisti Quilts and it will be a reversible quilt. She did all of the squares by hand -- beautiful work! It's a very cool technique, but she forgot to bring the pattern with her so I don't know what it is. I'll try to get more photos once it is complete.


New Projects: Holding fast on no new projects. 

Completed Projects: Nada

Current Projects:
Bottled Rainbows (2) - We are so close! The mosaics are done for 30 of the 32 blocks. Woo hoo! Of those, I only have one left to zigzag stitch. I've also started free motion quilting the squares. Four done so far.




Unfortunately, I don't think that I'll get these quilts together before we go on vacation on Friday so these quilts will probably have to wait until we get home. :(

Project Y - I've started free motion quilting it. So far so good.

Stained Glass Lillies - Still plugging away on that mess of leading. Should be ready to take with us on our vacation. :)

Landscape quilt
10BX Leaves
Fibonacci's Not Random
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Christmas tree skirt
Tangled Garden
Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Converging Stars
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday #11 Recap:
New projects: 0
Completed projects: 0
Currently in progress: 4
On Hold: 9
UFOs: 5

Bucket List: 39

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for W.I.P. Wednesday so let's go see what others have been up to this week.


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 25 July 2011

Happy Birthday Wallhanging

Happy Monday! Micah turned two on Friday (Sigh!). Even though it was a low-key birthday, we ended up celebrating his birthday twice and will celebrate it a third time next week when we meet up with my in-laws in Nova Scotia. He seemed delighted with all the attention, gifts and cake -- especially the cake!

Here's a photo of my little birthday monkey with his older brother Daniel:

Who doesn't love Smarties on their birthday cake?
And since I had it out, I thought I'd take a few photos of our Happy Birthday/Bonne Fête wallhanging that I made last year. When I found this Happy Birthday fabric a few years ago, I instantly knew what I wanted to do with it (love it when that happens!).


The letters and balloons are machine appliquéd with a blanket stitch and a thin satin stitch, respectively. The strings for the balloons are free motion quilted and the border is stipple quilted. We put it up for all of our birthdays now.


I have some more of the birthday fabric so I'm hoping to make another one -- this time I'll make the letters using a font that's similar to the font in the fabric. 

Things I'm thankful for today...

1. Patrick's Franglish - In describing my descent into the bowl of the Vortex at a local waterpark yesterday, he said to his friend, "Ma maman a landé on her head." It sounds more interesting the way he puts it than what actually happened. To translate, I went headfirst into the bowl of the Vortex instead of feet first. I'm fine and it was fun -- just not what you are supposed to do. :)
2. My sister and niece are coming to visit us tomorrow. Woo hoo! My sister is bringing a quilt with her that she's making for a friend. If munchkins sleep well, we're hoping to finish it up before she leaves.
3. Five more sleeps until vacation!

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Proud to be GenX and I've Got the T-shirt to Prove It

AnneMarie from one of my favourite blogs, GenXquilters, recently had a giveaway to celebrate her blogiversary. Guess who won? Lil' ole me. Woo hoo!

And my prize package has arrived!

As you can see, I'm already proudly wearing my t-shirt. One of my friends saw the t-shirt and laughed (there may have been a little eye-rolling, but all in good fun), "You even have a t-shirt now?" Yeppers!


And check out these beautiful fat quarters that AnneMarie sent. Summer fun!

So thank you very much, AnneMarie! And if there are any other giveaways you'd like to send my way, I'd love them. ;)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Works in Progress #10

Wow! I've hit double digits in my WIP reports. Thank you to Lee for hosting Works in Progress Wednesday! Since school's let out, it's become a little ritual for me to post my progress in the morning and then sip (okay, guzzle!) a glass of wine at the end of the day (once the munchkins are asleep) while browsing all of the great works in progress through Lee's Freshly Pieced. Wednesday is becoming one of my favorite days of the week. So here's the 4-1-1 for me for this week. Oh, and the air conditioning has kicked in properly so I'm much less cranky this week. ;)

New Projects: After a brief break last week, willpower has held fast this week. Wait, does purchasing and planning for next projects count? No? Phew! There has been no cutting, I swear!

Completed Projects: No, but I'm so close that I can taste it!

Current Projects:
Bottled Rainbows (2) - I'm a woman on a mission! The boys are doing great. Interest is still strong to start, but I sense a disturbance in the Force! I am fighting it though. We have 26 of the 32 mosaics done. I've zigzag stitched all the pieces down for 21 of those 26. I'm slowly catching up. It's going to be tight to get it all in before vacation...

Don't you just love those VW bugs? They are all over our Bottled Rainbows. Oh, and my kids love selvages, sorry, "the numbers!"








Project Y - Nada! I'm still playing with the quilting designs. Oh, and I thought I had a name but the hubster (yes, it's cheesy, but I do sometimes call him the hubster) said, "well, you might not want to prejudice people". So, rethinking decision a bit, but may very well go with it anyways because I'm a rebellious kind of woman. :)
Stained Glass Lillies - Still plugging away on that mess of leading.

On Hold: (Thinking of finishing one of these puppies off just to knock it off the list! My bet is on 10 BX Leaves or Christmas Tree Skirt - they are both so close to being done!)
Micah's Growth Chart
Landscape quilt
10BX Leaves
Fibonacci's Not Random
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Christmas tree skirt
Tangled Garden
Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Converging Stars
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday #10 Recap:
New projects: 0
Completed projects: 0
Currently in progress: 4
On Hold: 9
UFOs: 5

Bucket List: 39

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for W.I.P. Wednesday so let's go see what others have been up to this week.


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 15 July 2011

New Favourite Tool - Trial Quilting Sheets

A few weeks ago, Lynette from What a Hoot! had a post about using what she calls "Trial Sheets" to test out quilting patterns on your quilts. I always have a hard time visualizing what the quilting is going to look like on the quilt so when I saw her tool, I felt like yelling, "Eureka!" (I didn't though ;) ). Well, I tried it out myself with Project Y and I love it!

So here's what I did. I picked two of the thinest and cheapest acrylic sheets there were at Home Depot - one 11" by 14" and one 24" by 48". I may go and get a larger size down the road, but I think these will do just fine for now. Lynette bought some of those nice duct tapes to 'bind' her acrylic sheets (so the edges don't snag the quilt). She then cut the duct tape lengthwise down the middle so that it made a thin binding around the edge of the acrylic sheets. When I went into our workshop to get our duct tape though, I saw that we had some fun yellow electrical tape that was about 3/4" wide. Perfect! This way, I wouldn't have to cut it lengthwise to make it thinner. It took maybe 10 minutes to tape up the sides of the acrylic with Daniel's 'help'.

I already had some dry erase markers in red, blue, black and green so Daniel and I had fun testing out the markers on the acrylic sheets and then wiping it off. It worked perfectly! No residue left on the acrylic and no damage to the quilt. Yay! 

It was fun to doodle on different parts of the quilt to see whether stippling, straight quilting or some other design would look good. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the red marker seemed to show up the best, but perhaps that was just with this quilt. And the best thing about this is that if you don't like it the design, simply wipe it off with some paper towel. No seam ripper needed! In my book, anything that helps me avoid having to use the seam ripper is fabulous. This is also a good way to practice the design you are going to do and build up that muscle memory.

Here are some of the results of our test (sorry about the quality of the pictures - the flash reflected off the acrylic sheet too much):

Not convinced that I liked this...

So I tried this...


Hmm, still not convinced. I guess I'll be playing around some more with this one.

And look how it looks when you take it off the quilt. Fun, eh? If you flip it over, it gives you an idea of what the quilting will look like on the back of the quilt. You could use this as a reference tool when you are quilting too. I wouldn't leave the dry erase marker on too long though. I suspect they would leave a mark, if left on for more than a couple of days.


A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Be careful when wiping off close to the edges of the acrylic sheet while it's on the quilt so that marker dust doesn't get on the quilt.
  • I also wouldn't use wet erase markers, in case you wipe off with a wet towel and it drips on your quilt.

I'm still having fun playing with this new tool, but it has already become one of my favourites. Will I use it for every quilt? Probably not, but I'll definitely be using for any quilts on which I want to use multiple quilting designs. It's much easier to wipe off a design that isn't working than rip out stitches. Did I mention how much I hate having to use the seam ripper? ;)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Works in Progress #9

My, oh, my, Wednesday again! It is hot and steamy here, which is definitely dampening my desire to spend a ton of time in my quilt studio.

New Projects: Willpower broke this week. I needed a hostess gift so thesse mug rugs were the result. At least they were small, right?


Completed Projects: Mug Rugs  :)

Current Projects:
Bottled Rainbows (2) - Still going strong! We have 20 of the 32 mosaics done. Yippee! I'm still finding it a challenge to zigzag stitch all the pieces down - of those 20, I've still got 8 to zigzag stitch. The key is to use big scraps and straight edges, neither of which my kids seem to interested in. ;)

Project Y - Last week I showed you what I was contemplating for the backing. 


Below is the result - I felt that piecing the squares into the background was going to be way more complicated than it was worth so I machine appliquéd the squares on the pieced background. The edges should fray up nicely once it is washed. Still unnamed. Maybe the name will come to me in a vision as I sweat away in my sauna of a studio... ;) 



I'm dusting off Stained Glass Lilies because I want to take it with us on vacation later this month. I started this project last summer, with the idea of having a hand work project to take with me on vacation. I thought I'd finish the whole thing while away. Funny how projects take much longer than you anticipate. I got as far as as this last year.


Over the Fall and winter, I've been slowly trying to turn this


into the lead for the quilt - in one piece. Doesn't this look fun? Yeah, this is an exercise in patience and frustration. I want to finish prepping the lead before we leave so that I just need to do the stitching while I'm away. I think it's going to be really nice when it's done though. If it ever gets done... ;)

On Hold:
Micah's Growth Chart
Landscape quilt
10X Leaves
Fibonacci's Not Random
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Stained Glass Lillies
Christmas tree skirt
Tangled Garden
Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Converging Stars
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday #9 Recap:
New projects: 1
Completed projects: 1
Currently in progress: 4
On Hold: 9
UFOs: 5

Bucket List: 39

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for W.I.P. Wednesday so let's go see what others have been up to this week.


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 11 July 2011

La Vie est Belle Lundi - Life is Good Monday

Three things I'm grateful for today...

1. Micah's cuddles and kisses
2. Finally getting the laundry done and put away
3. The View

And...I finished the backing for Project Y! Yay! Now, I've really got to figure out the name because I want to try putting the label on this time before I machine quilt it.


I'm linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday on Canoe Ridge Creations for the first time...very cool blog so check it out!


{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Loving the Mug Rugs

I've been wanting to make a mug rug for a couple of months, but with one thing or another, it just wasn't happening. We're going to visit a long-time friend and his parents today and it occurred to me yesterday that mug rugs would make a lovely hostess gift. Wow, were they ever easy and quick to do!

I didn't have a lot of time to make them so I found some unused/partial Hidden Wells blocks from a previous quilt that I loved. I cut the blocks to 4" by 6" and added 1.5" border in two shades of green. After slapping on some batting and some scraps of the backing of that same project, I free motion quilted stippling on one and a paisley pivot on the other. I also managed to find some of the leftover binding for the same project! Clearly this project was meant to be -- two mug rugs in about an hour! Love those quick finishes.

And here they both are. I'm almost loathe to give these up, but I think Mrs. M will like them and put them to good use.


So much for no new projects... ;)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Works in Progress #8

Happy Wednesday! This week, it's been rainbows, rainbows, and more rainbows.

New Projects: I'm still holding off on any new projects. Willpower...still...holding, but weakening fast.

Completed Projects: Nada

Current Projects:
Bottled Rainbows (2) - We're doing some work on this everyday so the quilts are progressing nicely. We've completed the mosaics for 8 of Patrick's blocks and 4 of Daniel's blocks. The boys are having fun picking the scraps, telling me what shape they should be cut in and placing them in the square. We've added in some of my coordinating novelty fabrics, such as soccer players, stars, VW love bugs, aliens, etc. It's interesting to see which child picks which fabrics. Invariably, Daniel loses interest midway through the block so I'm having him pick the fun fabrics first and I do the fill in with the remaining scraps.




The challenge I'm having is actually finding the time to zigzag stitch all the pieces down. But, really, who needs sleep? Next up is putting on the backing materials. We're going to do this quilt-as-you-go so we're choosing coordinating backings for each block. If this works, we'll have a bit of a rainbow effect on the back as well. As it stands now, having these puppies ready by the end of the month for hand stitching the back sashings and the binding may be possible. It may be all rainbow, all the time to make that happen though.

Project Y - I figured out what I think I'd like to do with the back. The piecing might be overly tricky though so we'll see. This is a rough idea what I'm contemplating. Thoughts or suggestions are welcome!



On Hold:
Micah's Growth Chart - No progress.
Landscape quilt
10X Leaves
Fibonacci's Not Random
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Stained Glass Lillies
Christmas tree skirt
Tangled Garden
Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Converging Stars
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday #6 Recap:
New projects: 0
Completed projects: 0
Currently in progress: 3
On Hold: 10
UFOs: 5

Bucket List: 39

Thanks for visiting my blog. Now, let's go check out Freshly Pieced to see what others have been up to this week.


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 4 July 2011

Celebrating the 4th of July in Washington DC and Edwards Air Force Base

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
-The Declaration of Independence 4 of July, 1776.


Happy Independence Day to our neighbours to the south and northwest! I lived in the States for three years just after my husband and I got married. Our stay there gave me a whole new appreciation for the country and its people. We have fond memories of celebrating Canada Day and July 4th with our new friends in Boston. In honour of its Independence Day, I thought I'd check out some blogs from the States. Now Quilting Bloggers lists 3077 blogs for the United States! 3077! Um, yeah, let's make it a little more manageable, shall we? Since I looked at the capital city of Canada for Canada Day, how about we look at the lovely District of Columbia (Washington DC)? I also want to look at the Armed Forces Americas blogs because I know what a wonderful job they are doing of protecting the U.S. and the freedom that we all hold dear. 

I was curious about the Armed Forces Americas listings and wondered where bloggers from the Armed Forces would be located. I had a hard time picturing somebody blogging about quilting from Kandahar or Iraq. It turns out that both bloggers listed on Quilting Bloggers are at Edwards Air Force Base in California and it looks like they know each other. Bethany, originally from New England, from Creative Outlet has done some beautiful kids clothes and an adorable pinwheel baby quilt. I love the wallhanging she did for her room -- even the back! Peach Stitches posted a beautiful Tiffany Diamonds quilt, a super cute Airplane quilt, and I love how the colours pop on her Counting by Fives quilt that she made for her sisters graduation.

Now, faster than even an air force jet, we'll head to Washington DC. I've visited DC a few times to see some friends and really liked it. One visit, we went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts -- definitely worth a visit! Quilts, paintings, handicrafts -- simply beautiful works of art everywhere you look.

My first blog stop was a Day in the Life of Bugsy. It looks like he's been into knitting lately, but scrolling back I found a great quilt he made for Baby H and a Batik quilt. Love those colours!

In honour of the Independence Day weekend, AnneEliza has posted a flag quilt on her blog. And for those looking for some patriotic quilting, AnneEliza is also following along with Barbara Brachman's Civil War Block a Week so there are 20 beautiful civil war blocks on her site.

I loved the bold colours and designs on Linda's Eat, Sleep, Quilt blog. I like how she regularly posts three things she's happy about. Her Motown Came to Town post is wonderful. Definitely something to check out!

Life, Love, and Doghair's quilting is fun and cheerful -- a vivid blue quilt for Craft Hope and a great airplane quilt. She's also is a very talented photographer - her photos are stunning, especially the ones she took at a Revolutionary War reenactment.

I got a good giggle when I went to SassyBlog -- with a title like that I should have known. For July 4th, the mother-daughter team has posted a Yankee Doggie Dandy leash. I also liked the elegant mug rug for Dad they posted for Father's Day, and the mom's take on Fat Quarters made me laugh. They have a great tip for sewing binding too! They also have a shop - SassyPacks.com. Shopping!

Did you know that DC has a Modern Quilt Guild? Natalie, from School of Crafts, posted some photos from one of their recent meetings where they featured hand sewn projects - very fun! She also posted some photos she took at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.

I was totally wowed at the The Parfait Café. Madame Parfait's Robert Kauffman Solids Charm Pack Challenge Quilt is simply gorgeous! Seriously, go and look at it. I'll wait. You're back? Stunning, isn't it? And she provides a great tutorial for Interlocking Seasons. I'll be trying that one for sure.

Now, you've got to love a blogger who describes herself as Sew Chick: An Art Quilt Adventurer and vows that she's "out to change the world one art quilt at a time. There's no right or wrong way to do it--just your way." Love it! Lawana Holland-Moore, aka Sew Chick Elle, has some interesting posts about the Journey of Hope exhibit. I hadn't heard about this exhibit or the challenges it's has been experiencing before, but will definitely be looking into it more. She also has a great post with photos of the Quilts for Obama exhibit. Such beautiful work! Her own piece in the exhibit is exquisite.

I also found a beautiful wedding quilt (actually from a NY site, but I'm tagging it here because I may not find it again otherwise). :)

That's it for today. Happy 4th of July, my American friends! Here's hoping that it's filled with peace, BBQs, fireworks and lots of red, white, and blue! I hope you enjoyed this trip to the U.S. capital via Edwards Air Force base. If you liked this trip, you can also see what other virtual quilting quilting trips I've taken recently.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Welcome to Canada! Bienvenue au Canada!

Parliament Building OttawaIt's Canada Day here so in it's honour, I'm going to welcome you and show you around Ottawa, where I live, and show you a bit of the quilting scene here (well, what I know of it). Ottawa is the capital city of Canada so, as you can imagine, Canada Day is a big deal here. Very. Big. Deal. The downtown streets around our Parliament Buildings are closed to traffic, but are packed with pedestrians.

It's a huge party with red and white everywhere you look!

My boys on Canada Day 2010 - We're normally in shorts and t-shirts, but that was an odd weather day - hot/cool/hot. 
I have to say that I'm even more excited for Canada Day this year because we're having a BBQ with some friends later today (with fireworks - the whole shebang! Sorry, bad pun.). I'm also excited about it this year because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are here! There is no way I'm going downtown today to brave those crowds so I packed up the munchkins and went with a friend to Rideau Hall to see the Duke and Duchess yesterday. So fun! Both were so gracious with the crowd. The Duke gave a brief speech and I must say that I was quite impressed with his French. Bien fait, votre majesté! Of course, I took tons of pictures. As Murphy's Law would have it, his head is cut off of all the ones where he is right in front of me! Gah! Oh well, here are a few of the best.




Prince William's Canadian Flag
 Speaking of French, one of the reasons I love Ottawa is that it is a truly bilingual city, where you'll hear both languages, plus many others, everywhere you go. It feels like being with my extended Charbonneau family all the time; people switching back and forth between French and English throughout their conversations. It's a little weird, but fun if you know both languages.

The City of Ottawa has around 800,000 residents, but the National Capital Region (includes the suburbs and Gatineau across the river in Quebec) is more like 1.4 million. It's a beautiful city with a lot of green space, it's easy to navigate and the people are pretty darn nice, if I may say so.

My husband and I (and Patrick) moved here about 5 1/2 years ago and find that there is always something to do. It's a city that encourages you to be outside all year round, whether is 30 degrees Celsius or - 30 degrees Celsius. Festivals, community gatherings, wonderful bike and walking/hiking paths in the summer, great skiing (downhill and cross country) and fabulous skating on the Canal in the winter.


Our ice rink

Part of what I love about winter here is that the snow stays in the winter and stays white, because it's cold. Very cold. And as long as you are dressed for the cold, it's awesome.


Neighbour's slide

I have at least two coats for the winter -- the balmy up-to-minus-10 degree Celsius coat and what I call the "Ottawa Ladies Coat" (a big, long parka-like coat that has a faux fur ruff on the hood) for those bone-shillingly cold days. It ain't pretty, but it's so wonderfully warm! In the winter, we (my husband) make an ice rink in our backyard and a friend up the street makes an awesome slide for the kids. It's a winter wonderland for my munchkins.

I find the quilting scene here is pretty inspiring. There is quite a variety of styles. This will not be a comprehensive tour of the Ottawa quilting scene (that would take way too long!), but I'll share with you what I know about it.

There are two big quilt (200+ member) guilds here: Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild and the Common Thread Quilt Guild. I used to be a member of both (I just couldn't get enough!), but I started volunteering as a Beaver Leader for my son's Beaver Colony this past year so I couldn't make the Common Thread Guild meetings. :(
 
The home page of the OVQG has a slide show of some of our members' work and of our House Tour last fall that it worth checking out. Our guild did the house tour to raise money for Rogers House, a "home away from home" for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families who need to be near the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The idea was radical; to have quilts shown in their natural habitat -- the home! We had five houses with five themes (Animals, Art, Children, Men, and Seasons). It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. More importantly, we raised ~$3,000 for Rogers House! My house hosted the Children's quilts - no surprise there -- so you'll see my house in the photos with the children's quilts.

Every Mother's Day weekend in May, there's a big quilt show here. The two biggest guilds alternate hosting it each year. The quilt show this past year was run by the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild. Next year, it's the Common Thread Quilt Guild. Each year, I walk away from the show inspired anew. Also, did I mention the great vendors? Let's just say that I have a great Mother's Day each year! The show is also on during the Tulip Festival so there's a lot going on around the rest of the city too (millions of tulips, of course, but also concerts and other events). Have I convinced you to visit Ottawa in person yet?

There are also a number of smaller guilds and groups around too, like the Arnprior Quilters' Guild and the Richmond Area Quilters Guild. Most don't have sites though. One very cool group that does have a site is the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, whose members do stunning work. They've put some of their members' work on the site so click on a name and you'll see some examples of their work. There's some great eye candy on that site!

Now on to the blogs! Did you know that the Quilting Gallery Blog that has the Quilting Bloggers list is based in Ottawa? Yes, Michele Foster runs such a great site and a great blog of her own! I've just started following her blog, but so far I'm a big fan of her weekly themed quilt contests. What a great idea! 

One of my favourite blogs is Elaine Quehl's blog. Not only do I find her work gorgeous (check out her foliage series - wow!), but I also find her posts about being an artist and the creative journey very thoughtful and interesting. I've taken a class with her too and it was eye opening. I learned how to piece freeform curves - love that Reflections technique. And her hand dyed fabrics, which are available for sale, are luscious (I don't use that word lightly!).

Cherry Tree Quilts - Barb Gillespie is a wonderful longarm machine quilter who recently moved to BC from Ottawa. We're sad to see her go! Even though it's summer and not a speck of snow to be seen here (in Ottawa anyway ;)), I had to share Barb's snow dyeing with you. Very cool! I'm going to have to try that sometime.

Other Ottawa-based blogs to check out:
  • The Running Stitch - A great store and blog. I don't get there as often as I'd like because it's on the other side of the city from me (probably a good thing for our bank account), but it's where I bought the Kaffe Fassett fabric for Project Y and my fantabulous-bestest-ever-sewing-machine-in-the-world.
  • Juanita Sauvé is also a member of the Out of the Box Fibre Artists. I've just recently found her blog, but am enjoying it immensely.
  • Mad About Patchwork - yummy online quilt store and blog!
  • The Saturday Quilter - I love the New York Beauty that she posted for last year's Bloggers' Quilt Festival.
Some Quilt Artist sites worth a visit:
Mary Pal is a wonderful friend of mine and does such beautiful work! You will be seeing her in the next series of Quilting Arts TV demonstrating her cheesecloth technique. Her portrait of Jane Goodall is one of my favourites. Poplars is another. Mary gave a fabulous 10BX class where we got to experiment with ten different fibre art processes using a leaf theme (paintstiks, seta colour, foil). It was so much fun and felt like it was a 'playdate' for grownups. I also took her Painstiks course -- again, I learned so much from her. She has so many tips and ideas that I always walk away very inspired.

Other great sites to check out:
A visit to Ottawa would not be complete without some fabric shopping, n'est-ce pas? Some of my favourite local fabric and quilt shops are:

On my way home last night, I spotted a new store that is opening near my house called Paula's Sewing Basket. I'm giddy -- could it be a quilt shop? I couldn't tell from the outside, but I will certainly investigate it next week. :)

Thanks for coming by and I hoped you liked your virtual visit to Ottawa. If you liked this visit, check out my other trips Around the Quilting Blogosphere.

Now I've got to go get ready for the BBQ...

Happy Canada Day! Joyeuse Fête du Canada!




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