Sunday, 30 June 2013

Happy Canada Day, Eh!

Yes, this beautiful spot is the Rideau River in Ottawa
Happy 146th birthday, Canada!

If you are visiting with the Stamp On It blog hop with Sew We Quilt, welcome! Special thanks to Madame Samm and Thearica for organizing such a fun hop.

There is just something so interesting and beautiful about art than can fit on a piece of paper that is usually less than 1.5" square, don't you think?

I also find it amazing that you can send a letter across Canada, to the States or internationally for less than a dollar (well, just over a dollar for outside of Canada).
Happy Canada Day, Eh!
I used to collect stamps as a kid and I still have my collection...somewhere. I was a philatelist. I was that cool. I know you are jealous. I still can't pronounce philately, but at least I can spell it.

Quilting Detail
Since this challenge required us to have our country, currency and date on our stamp, I decided to take this opportunity to also do something from my bucket list, #10 in particular. Yep, I now have a wallhanging to celebrate Canada Day.

I wanted something very modern. My inspiration came from these stamps, but a maple leaf had to be my theme.

Even though the current cost of a regular domestic P (permanent) stamp is currently 63 cents, I chose $1 because Canada is known for its loonie and 1 is my favourite number. And yes, I now remember that the dollar sign should be placed before the 1. Um, design element, yeah, that's it. ;)
Quilting Detail
Simple quilting to emphasize the design elements. The wavy quilting on the background is for our water.

It measures 20" x 35".

Happy Canada Day, Eh!
Meets the Rideau River

So here is my Happy Canada Day, Eh! stamp quilt. And just in time for Canada Day!

Some notes about its construction:
  • The low volume background are 2" pieced equilateral triangles. Used the HexNMore ruler - love!
  • The maple leaves, letters, numbers, cancellation mark and stamp edge are machine appliquéd. 
  • Quilting is mostly with Aurifil thread (#1103, 2260, 2612, and 2630). The cream on the stamp edge is Coats and Clark because that's what I had on hand and I was running out of time. My machine threw a hissy fit when I free motion quilted with it on the stamp edge and I was very close to making an emergency drive to Kanata for the matching Aurifil. Reason prevailed thankfully because I do not live close to Kanata. I did a major clean of my machine, changed the needle, rethreaded everything and managed to finish that section without too many more hiccups. Totally fabricated conspiracy theory: You know how people say that McDonalds puts something in their fries so people become addicted? I think Aurifil does something like that with their thread so our machines don't want other threads. Just putting that out there. ;)
  • The quilt has a non-mitred facing to finish it off.
Oh, the back? I found this stamp fabric in my stash. Couldn't resist. :)
Happy Canada Day, Eh! - Back
I can't wait to see what my fellow Stamp On It blog hoppers come up with this week:
July 1

July 2

July 3

If you've made it this far, kudos! Because it's Canada Day and I'm doing a happy dance right now, I'm going to share my favourite Canadian dance moves video with you to get you going too:

Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate the company! Hope your day is fun, full of great stamp eye candy, and fireworks!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Random Acts of Randomness

Pool hopping, splash pads, thunderstorms, soccer, forts, bike rides, and only a bit of Wii is what our summer has started out with. Love it!

Strawberry picking has become a tradition for us to do the week after the boys are done school. The strawberries are huge this year and we were done picking in no time.

Our favourite way to consume said strawberries? Dipping them in plain yogurt (or sour cream) and then brown sugar. Yum! Or just using them to apply lipstick.

There has been a little bit of sewing too. A last year-end gift, again made with Ayumi Mills' lunch bag tutorial:

The Stamp On It blog hop, organized by Sew We Quilt, started on Wednesday and it's been fun to see what others have done with this theme. Definitely worth checking out!

Here's a sneak peek of the background of my Stamp On It piece that I will be sharing on Monday (Canada Day!). I know, low volume? Me? But yes...for the background!

While I'm way ahead of the stage you see here, it's not done yet so I'm getting a little nervous. A late night or two ahead, I think.

Linking up to Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts for TGIFF! and Cindy @ Live A Colorful Life for Really Random Thursday (and Friday).

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, 21 June 2013

TGIFF! - School's Out

It was the last day of school for my older boys yesterday. Woo hoo! We can sleep in. Yeah, right. The two younger ones were up an hour earlier today. WTH?! If today is any indication of what this summer is going to be like (no naps), it's probably going to be a lot quieter on the blog this summer.

End of year teachers' gifts were lunch bags again this year. I love, love, love Ayumi Mills' lunch bag tutorial!

This fabric is from a fabulous giveaway I won from Kirsten at Gemini Stitches back in December. Thank you again, Kirsten. I love the fabric! And the teacher loved the lunch bag too. Phew!

This one went to my sister for her birthday. Funny thing is she actually pinned it from my blog. Hee hee.

I also finished this Katherine Wheel for Anne-Marie of my Simply Solids Bee. A great tutorial for this block can be found on Lawson and Lotti. It was a fun and challenging block! 

I'm linking up with Aunt Marti at Thirteen in '13 for TGIFF! Check it out and link up your own recent finish.

Happy Summer Solstice for those in the northern hemisphere!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

TGIFF! - Hard Core

Hard Core meets Orange Julep
Welcome to TGIFF!

I thought I became a hard core quilter when I started quilting every day and writing this blog two years ago. The quilt I'm sharing with you today showed me otherwise.

Hard Core began in a Liberated Radial Piecing workshop with Elaine Quehl in February, just ten days  after I'd broken my wrist (love her classes, btw!). I didn't think I'd be able to do much with the cast, but it turned out that the piecing technique was "liberated" enough for casted me to do it. Yay! And since I made the medallion with a broken wrist and it kind of looks like the core of the earth, I thought Hard Core would work well as a name. :)

Most of the other participants used beautiful batiks and hand dyed fabrics, but I'm still loving my solids so I went with purple, red, orange, pink, and yellow palette to see what they could do. I also seem to be in an asymmetrical phase so I placed my medallion off centre to the left. Perhaps it's because I'm a little leftie? Yes, perhaps in more ways than one.

Hard Core - Front
Once the top was done, you guys helped me figure out the quilting. Thank you! Quilting in the rays seemed to win out. I knew that would work well for the negative space. I didn't think it would work so well in the wonky medallion part though so after some more experiments, I finally decided to go with a flame spiral in the medallion.

I used a variegated rayon thread in pink, orange, yellow and red for the medallion. Frustration! It kept getting caught coming off the cardboard spool and breaking. Love the colours, hate the thread. Once I got to the edge of the medallion though, I switched to Aurifil #2581. Oh, sweet heaven, what a difference! The rest of the quilting proceeded smoothly and problem free. :)

Quilting Detail - post blocking,
what quilting?
Quilting Detail - pre-blocking.
See the bearding?
I did straight lines outward in alternating rays. In the remaining rays, I did different motifs - swirls, pebbles, flames, spiral flames, etc.

Fabulous, right? Yes, but guess what? After blocking it, you can't see any of the quilting motifs unless you are 5" away from it. All that effort and I could have gotten the same effect just doing one motif all the way around. Hmmm.

Hard Core is 39" by 56.5" and is currently decorating my dining room wall.

Lessons Learned:
The back - nothing exciting,
but I know some of you like seeing the back
  • The centre of the medallion has a very bulky seam. I didn't want it to stick out so I thought if I cut away the batting behind that section, it would lay flush with the rest of the quilt. It worked.  
  • If you are going to do a lot of free motion quilting in the negative space and want it to show the texture, choose a loftier batting and/or a different colour thread. 
  • I do not like bamboo batting, at least the one I've tried (I can't find the paper that came with it to say what brand it is). I had problems with it Clockwork Orange, but I thought it would be fine for a wallhanging because the quilt wouldn't get washed much. However, just wetting the quilt to block it caused more bearding. It also bearded terribly while sewing and has very little loft. Hopefully it will improve because making batting from bamboo seems like such a great idea ie. fast-growing, renewable resource. 
Now don't get me wrong, while I'm disappointed with a few things about this piece, I still really love it, I learned a lot, and I'm proud of it! And, if nothing else, it confirmed that I am indeed a hardcore quilter. :D

Hard Core hanging out with
Griffin, our garden gnome - best
buds those two

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Works in Progress Wednesday - The Get in Gear Edition

We've all got a hacking cough and the hubster is still sick so I've got nothing especially upbeat to say today. :( Since I'm not blowing much sunshine today, I have to share with you this funny post about this time of year. I can relate to this mom's experience. I imagine that a number of you can as well. :)

Oooh, I'm participating in the Stamp On It blog hop with the Sew We Quilt gang. My day is July 1st...Canada Day! Muahahaaa!

New/Completed Projects:

Hard Core: I'm hosting TGIFF! this week, where I'll be sharing Hard Core. If you have a recent finish, come link up!

End of Year Gifts: The kids have a week of school left. Gulp! I took most of yesterday to make some teachers' gifts using Ayumi Mills' fabulous lunch bag tutorial. I wasn't going to do lunch bags this year, but the kids were ready with colour requests for their teachers so who am I to deny them? ;) Two lunch bags down, two to go. I'm having a hard time parting with these.

Wee SpyDone and blogged.

Current Projects:

Su{Brrr}nova Scraps: No progress.

Scrappy Trip Along: A few blocks:

Scrap{Bee} Quilt: No progress.

Kingston quilt: No progress.

Wedding quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap: 
New projects: 4
Completed projects: 3
Current projects: 4
On Hold/UFO: 14

I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks Monika and Lee for hosting such great linkies!
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What are you working on this week?

Monday, 10 June 2013

A Winner and More Scrappy Trips

Thank you all for the feedback on the blog. It was fun to read what appealed to different people. Without further ado, the winner of the fat quarters and the gloves is...

I love looking at your quilts and the techniques. I think you are an amazing quilter and I love how you pick colour.

Thank you and congratulations, Michelle! Be sure you check your email account for my email requesting your address.


Not much happening on the quilt front these days, it seems like it's soccer, soccer, and more soccer around here. I'm starting to get a little btwitchy from the lack of quilting time. ;) I did snag two 20 minute chunks and managed to make a couple more Scrappy Trip blocks.


Two: Yes, that is a rare sighting of brown on Quilt Matters!

Here are all my Scrappy Trip Along blocks laid out to date, most courtesy of my fabulous Simply Solids Carmine group bee mates. Thanks guys! More blocks and more play with the layout still to come, but so far it's bright and scrappy -- just as I'd hoped. I'm thinking it will be a twin-sized quilt for my eldest son's new-ish room.

I'm also starting to think that there's something wrong with my camera because it really has a problem taking photos of red and orange fabrics up close. They seem to bleed or glow. I'm just using a Sony point and shoot, but I can play with a lot of the settings. Anyone else have that problem? I never noticed it before, but then I didn't use a lot of red or orange either.

Oh, and for my Canadian friends, Rachel from Stitched in Color and Fabric Spot have a challenge for us. Check it out and sign up!

Hope you are having a great Monday!

Friday, 7 June 2013

TGIFF! - A Wee Spy Quilt

Wee Spy Quilt And Bag
If you haven't had a chance to enter my blogiversary giveaway, you have until Monday to enter. :)


My cousin's Wee Spy quilt is done! Sorry for the blah photos -- it's rain, rain, and more rain around here. For those new to the blog, the Wee Spy is my go-to baby gift. These aren't meant to be precious or heirloom quilts. They are made to keep little eyes interested and to handle whatever a baby can throw at it, burp on it, pee on get the idea. 

As with all my Wee Spy quilts, they have a standard size (approx. 38" by 50") and layout, using 48 6" blocks of various novelty fabrics. The novelty fabrics don't coordinate on purpose and are chosen because they have some novelty item on it that would be interesting to little eyes.

I piece the novelty fabrics as leader/enders of my other projects so I usually just need to add the border and a backing when a baby gift is needed. Efficient? Yes! 

For the quilting, I simply echo the seam lines on either side using my walking foot. 

While each one is made in a standard way, each Wee Spy is unique in the backing and coordinating border colour, as well as which novelty fabrics are included. 

I then make a coordinating bag out of more novelty fabrics, the border and backing material and add my little tag so parents get an idea of things they can do with the quilt...other than wrap their bundle of joy in it. 

I found the backing fabric at Fabricland last year, I think, and I've been hoarding it since waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. There are moose, beavers, polar bears and some Canadian geese, as well as some maple leaves scattered here and there -- just perfect for the little Canuck that should make her/his appearance towards the end of July.

I'm linking up with the wonderful Laura of Quokka Quilts for this week's TGIFF! Hope you can take some time to check out her ode to Kate Spain and the other fabulous finishes. If you have a recent finish, you are more than welcome to link up as well.

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Blogiversary Giveaway

May was my second blogiversary! I really appreciate all the support and kind words you send my way. Your words help motivate me to keep trying new things and improve my skills. So let's have a giveaway to celebrate, shall we?

For this giveaway, I'll be sharing this bundle of goodies:

Yes, those are gardening gloves beside the fat quarters and they are awesome for free motion quilting. A tip from a friend had me trying out a pair of these Gardena gloves on the quilting of Hard Core. Love, love, love these gloves! They fit snugly without getting too hot. The rubber on the palm gives me more grip so there's less strain on my fingers to hold the fabric. They did smell of rubber for the first couple of days out of the package, but they are fine now. Since this is one of my new favourite tools, I'm going to go all mini Oprah on you and share a pair with one of you, in addition to those fat quarters.

To win, just leave a comment letting me know something you've enjoyed about this blog (so I know what to continue doing or do again), whether it's a particular project, my mom made you read my blog, new techniques, my laziness with English grammar, tutorials, etc.

Followers of my Facebook page get a bonus entry so just leave a comment letting me know you follow or are a new follower. The little F icon up on the left hand side bar will take you there if you haven't been there before. :)

This giveaway is open until Monday, June 10 at 6 p.m. EST. I'll pick a winner via Ms. Random Number Generator and notify the winner via email.

No reply bloggers (hint: if you've commented on this blog for anything other than a giveaway and did not received a response, you are a no reply blogger), please leave an email address so I can contact you or I'll need to choose another winner. 

Thank you again for all your support and good luck in the giveaway!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Works in Progress Wednesday - The Missing In Action Edition

I'm feeling behind on a lot of things and bagged from end-of-year banquets, Beaver Camp, soccer start ups and tournaments, hubster with pneumonia, gardening and too much late night quilting (can there really be too much though?). And the boys have a PD Day this Friday with only two weeks of school left. Yikes! Teachers' gifts! Double yikes!

This all hasn't left much time for blogging, but one thing I did get ready was my second blogiversary giveaway 'cuz ya gotta have your priorities straight, right? The giveaway starts tomorrow so be sure to come back then!

So, what is new on the quilt front?

New Projects: 

Wee Spy: One of my cousins is having a bébé. I'm so excited for her! I can't make the shower, but I'm sending along this quilt. I adore the backing print.

Su{Brrr}nova Scraps: This is up on my design wall to contemplate.

Completed Projects:

What the FMQAYG? RevisitedIs done and I hope to be able to share it with you soon.

Current Projects:

Hard Core: This one is done! I'm saving it for next week's TGIFF!, when I host. It'll probably take that long for me to get some good photos of it as I can't seem to get the purple, orange or red right. Here's a sneak peek of the quilting on the medallion.

Scrappy Trip Along: No progress.

Scrap{Bee} Quilt: No progress.

Kingston quilt: No progress.

Wedding quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap: 
New projects: 2
Completed projects: 1
Current projects: 4
On Hold/UFO: 14

I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks Monika and Lee for hosting such great linkies!
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What are you working on this week?
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