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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Retractable Scissor Keeps


Three posts in as many weeks!  Can you believe it?  Not like me at all, but I got mail today and I'm pretty excited.  My Janome (have I mentioned lately how much I love, love, love my Janome?) came with it's own table, but there isn't anyplace to put 'things', so I started wearing my scissors on a lanyard.  Well, it works great, except whenever I get up, or lean over to manhandle manipulate the quilt through the machine throat, it bangs and clangs, and every once in a while catches on things. But that has been better than leaning over and picking them up off the floor over and over again.

I was watching a video by Amy Johnson and she was wearing a retractable badge reel for her scissors.  Hmmm, I said to myself, Crafty Daughter makes those for her friends and colleagues, and even has a few for sale in her Etsy shop.


So, I had her send me one.  Ummmm, it's ingenious!


Her Etsy shop is located at GardeniaDrive, and I know she has more!  You should pop over and take a peek.  She started selling bra strap wraps for FitBits a couple of years ago and has expanded a little. She had asked me to come up with something for her because she hated wearing them in that plastic band on her wrist.  She loved what I did so much, she said, "We should sell these!"  They've sold themselves, and I struggle to keep them in stock.

She has also made up some vinyl decals for me, which I love, because one of my favorite things to do is send random happy mail.



However, the cost of postage is sometimes prohibitive. These decals can be slipped into the mail for only the cost of a postage stamp!  (ooh, ooh, ooh, the FitBit Strap Wraps only take one postage stamp, too! I'm going to declare myself the Queen of Low Postage!)



She's offering a 10% discount on these decals if you use the coupon code:  FYF10, and shipping is free in the US.

Linda (Scrapmaster) giving a class.

While there is a shipping cost for international orders, you can buy more than one for the same shipping as one, so that's not too bad a deal.

~

I've already confessed to not being a domestic diva. Truth be told, I'm pretty pathetic in the kitchen, too.  ~sigh~  So, when I find a recipe that even I can make, even I find very versatile, I have to share.  Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta is a one skillet meal that we really enjoy, and I don't even mind excusing myself from my sewing machine to prepare.  I think I shared this recipe before, but it's worth repeating!



It doesn't take very long, at all, and I know I'm not the only one who would rather be sewing than preparing meals!

~

Last but not least, on the quilty front, I have one share.  It has winged it's way across the continent and has been received, so I can show it now.


It's just a little zippered pouch using a stitchery from Red Brolly. I combined the instructions from a couple of different pouch tutorials that I found on Pinterest and made it to my own dimensions.  It was fun and easy, and I see a few more in my future!  Makes a great gifty, is flat and inexpensive to slip into the mail.  My favorite thing!

Well, that's all for today, but that was quite a lot for me!  I hope you can enjoy your day doing whatever makes you happiest!  I have to go grocery shopping.  :(

~karen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Domestic Diva? Hardly!


At some point during my early morning sewing binge, 
it occurred to me that sewing on a domestic machine isn't exactly 
'being domestic', 
so I decided to bite the bullet and threw not one, 
but two, loads of laundry into the washing machine.  
Then I felt smug because I could sew while the washer did all the work!  
I don't have a dryer, though, so I did have to stop long enough 
to hang everything out on the clothesline to dry.
And yes, to bring them in to fold and put away.
(Truthfully?  I piled them onto a chair 
in the corner of my bedroom for later.)


I have spent the better part 
of my spring/summer playing, 
whipping up blocks and patterns
that I've wanted to try
but haven't taken the time.
When a former student announced
her wedding date,
I took the opportunity to try
the pineapple block
that's been circulating.
It made a great wedding gift.


This is the only picture I took
before I slipped it into the mail,
but while it was (quite literally) hanging around
waiting to be finished,
I couldn't stop looking at it!
Depending on the time of day,
it never looked the same.
I love it.

I always like to have a "to go" project,
and in 2015, I was inspired by
Julie's Quilts and Costume's RSC Challenge project.
She was inspired by
a quilt called "True Colors"  in Nancy Mahoney's book,
Simple Curves and Quick Curves.





I collected several B/W, W/B print fat quarters,
hit up my scrap basket,
and got to work.

When it was time to return to the states for the winter,
I packed mine up and stored it away.
Fast forward to the following spring.
I had lost my mojo for this project,
declared my pile of appliqued circles as finished,
worked up a layout,
sewed it into rows,
and stored it away for another winter.

When I sewed the rows together this past spring,
I wanted it just a little larger,
so a quilting blogger friend suggested I use a white border
and quilt ghost blocks in black,
then bind it in black.




Thinking this was a grand idea,
I got to work.
Thankfully, I was trying out a new-to-me marking pen,
one that fades with time,




because quilting circles with black thread on white fabric
isn't for the faint of heart.
Having a nice bold line to follow surely helps.

I can highly recommend this pen,
but don't mark ahead of time, then leave it for later.
It fades more quickly than the directions 
lead you to believe.

Hope you are enjoying your summer days
as much as I have been!

~karen

PS - If you visited my previous post about our NSQBQ Round Robin adventure,
but you didn't have time to check in with the other girls (I didn't post pictures of their quilts), here's a quick snapshot of us all together!









Monday, July 10, 2017

Round Robin Exchange


Five years ago, 
4 Nova Scotia quilt bloggers' worlds collided
(try to say THAT 3 times fast!)
and a very special bond was formed.

Last fall, when this small but mighty group met 
for the last time before winter, 
we discussed our third annual challenge, 
and decided that a round robin might be fun.  
So, we set up a schedule that wouldn't be stressful and got to work.


Sheila certainly doesn't look like she spent the morning
preparing the most amazing and delicious luncheon!

We chose to keep each quilty piece a secret
from the original contributor, 
and after a very long, 
too long wait,
due to unforeseen circumstances, 
we finally met up and made our exchange.


Lesley and Linda can't get over the detail on Lesley's quilt.

Sheila, of Sheila's Quilt World, hosted us in her lovely home, 
since she is located half way between 
Lesley (The Cuddle Quilter) and me
(or is it 'I'?  I'm never sure),
and Linda, Scrapmaster.
Linda's daughter, Niki, joined the party
and was such a big help behind the camera.


Linda's all excited and she hasn't even opened her quilt up, yet!

Last but not least,
mine!

Upside down, right side up, it all looks beautiful to me!

Inspiration for my 12" sq. center block
came from designer Sharon Tucker


American Patchwork and Quilting, June 2015

Round 2 was cleverly constructed by Sheila,
who also took her inspiration from this photo,
but substituted hexie flowers for the appliqued flowers shown,
embroidered a vine, and appliqued leaves.
She does such lovely handwork.




Round 3, by Lesley,
captures the whole essence of the quilt top,
don't you think?  It's up on my design wall, now,
and I just can't stop looking at it!




and Linda's Round 4
ingeniously links back to the center block
and pulls it all together.
She didn't repeat any fabrics in these Raspberry Kiss Blocks.
I think it's the perfect final round, and so Linda!




Here's one more look at the whole quilt.




The four of us, dubbed the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet,
(NSQBQ)
will be presenting a quilt show
in Amherst, Nova Scotia
from October 10th - 14th.
Our goal is to have them quilted up and ready for display by then.
I can't wait to see them all completely finished!

Now, I just know you are chomping at the bit
to see the other three quilts.
I hope the few pictures I shared were just enough of a tease
to encourage you to pop over to their blogs for more!
They have written up such delightful posts.

Here are their links again to make it easy:

Linda
Sheila
& Lesley

Thanks for popping in!
It's a beautiful morning here in Cape Breton.
Hope you're enjoying much of the same!

~karen

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Slow and Easy Wins the Race


When summer rolls around,
there often isn't a lot of sewing time on the docket.
I know, for me, grabbing snippets of sewing time
has to satisfy that innate passion.

Sew a strip together here, pin blocks together there,
press those seams quickly before you head out the door;
and it amazes me how much I can accomplish.

First things first.
I finally finished my green Paper Lanterns quilt.


It was a very windy picture day,
so over the wood pile it went.
It blew off as soon as I snapped this picture,
so I didn't even attempt to photograph the back.
But it's cute!  You'll just have to believe me.

I chose to quilt it with white Aurifil 50 wt. thread
using the Serpentine Stitch and it was the perfect choice.
Thank you, Stephanie, of Loft Creations, for another fun pattern!!

When an elderly quilter in N. Tx went into an assisted care facility,
her fabrics were offered to her quilting guild.
There was so much fabric, it filled one stall of a two stall garage.
While I was visiting, I was invited to "shop"
and here is one result of that booty:


by Missouri Star Quilt Co.




 Except, I worked with an assortment of fat quarters,
scaled down the size of the blocks,
and ended up with a 40"x 50" top.
I used my walking foot and multicolored thread for the quilting.

It will be winging its way to Massachusetts on Monday
as a new baby (gender yet unknown) quilt 
for a very special young couple.

I will share one more thing, 
and then I'll save the rest for another post.
I think one of the reasons I'm getting a lot accomplished
even though I'm not marathon sewing,
is because I've made these trays for traveling 
from one station to another.


My sewing machine still lives in the kitchen
but my cutting station and the ironing board are in a different room.
I picked up a couple of plastic trays from the 
not-a-dollar-store-anymore,
and glued a layer of batting to the bottom.
It measures 10" x 14".
I can load them up and go from the cutting table,
to the sewing machine,
back to the ironing board,


and even into the living room
to work off my lap
while I watch a show in the evening!

Plus, they can be stacked on top of each other
even with projects laid out on them,
and tucked away when it's time to tidy up.

Okay, one more thing, since these blocks have shown up.
Here are some on my design wall.
already constructed.


I believe it was Adrienne of Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
that was destashing one summer,
and I was the lucky recipient of all her unwanted fabric.
The other day I was rifling through my fabrics,
which are still packed up for the winter,
and my hand pulled out this fabric that she must have used
to back a quilt.
There was enough leftover for me to construct 20 - 9" blocks.
With a coordinating border or two,
it should work up into a fun crib size quilt!
Quick, easy, cute, AND so far, free!

Had enough?
Okay, I won't tell you about cleaning the oven yesterday.
It was quite the experience.
I think I remember doing it before.
Once.

Hope you're doing well
and having as much quilty fun as me!

~karen




Friday, June 9, 2017

Secret Sewing Revealed


It is my delight and extreme pleasure 
to finally be able to reveal
the 2017 Atlantic Canada Row X Row Experience
designed by Linda Coolen Smith
in collaboration with Karen Chase,
the best little fabric shop in Halifax, NS.




I was very honored when Linda asked me to test her pattern
for her Halifax Row X Row On The Go,
"To and Fro".

I'm not the best pattern tester, 
because I usually just look at the picture,
refer to the cutting requirements,
and take off sewing without looking back.




I had to concentrate very hard 
to make sure I followed 
the very well written instructions 
to the letter.




These photos were all taken at the same place
at the same time.
Guess where you stand determines how saturated the colors are.
Just so you know, the blue is the same throughout!




Anyway, picture quality aside,
job well done, Linda and Karen!
I enjoyed paper piecing the smokestacks in Tufts Cove 
on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbor,
and appliqueing the office towers at Purdy's Wharf.
The most fun was appliqueing the
(one of five)
and the accompanying seagulls.
Well, that, and machine quilting it!

You can visit 
the Atlantic Canada Row by Row Experience 
Facebook page to see more rows, if you'd like,
by clicking right HERE.
There's quite a variety!
It's always interesting to me to see how
each year's theme is interpreted!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Karen




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Adding a Little Color


Spring in the Atlantic Canadian Maritimes 
is often synonymous with 
relentless rain and lingering cold temperatures.
Even if the sun comes out, the winds are bitter cold. 

And June isn't getting off to a very good start.  
It can't last much longer!
Can it?

So, what do you do when it's windy, cold, 
and usually wet, day after day after day?

You work with the brightest, 
most colorful fabrics in your stash, of course!

Luckily, I had a fat quarter bundle 
of rich, brilliant Free Spirit Solids 
just screaming to be used, 
and a Preppy the Whale pattern calling my name!

I have been working with two colors at a time, 
and making four whales at a sitting.
This is only half of what I've accomplished so far.




I am chain piecing this project, 
and making a scrappy leader/ender quilt at the same time.  
I like to play the 'don't break the chain' game 
and see how long I can sew without starting over.

I'm also participating in Lori Kennedy's FMQ-a-long
over at The Inbox Jaunt.
I was fortunate to have a little box full of bonus HSTs 
leftover from another project to prep.
I need all the practice I can get!




This has been knee replacement week for The Ranger,
and I'm a little behind on my sewing,
so I guess I'd better 
get back to work!

Happy June!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More May is for Makers

There has been a lot of sewing going on in my house,
but not very many finishes!

Wish I could show you a picture of my new design wall!
But there is some 'secret sewing' on display,
so maybe next time.

I'm delighted to share with you
my only recent finish.
It's a new pattern released just today
by our very own,
Linda at Scrapmaster
and Karen of Sugar Free Quilts


My version:




I chose to reverse the 
center row of arrows,
    because I ... 
...well, because I just did.

I finally broke into my 
coveted box of  Cotton and Steel 2015 prints 
that I'd ordered 
from Craftsy awhile back.  
The gray print backing
is from Red Rooster.

I echoed around each arrow 
with a gray Auriful,
and kept it pretty simple. 





My daughter saw a picture of this on my design wall
and laid immediate claim to it before it was even completed,
so I guess it will be winging its way to TX soon.

May is for makers!
Check out this great pattern!
Support our designers!

Have a fantabulous day!
~karen