Busy End of Summer

The first day of Autumn. I love Summer and this one was particularly good however the weather has changed now, it’s still sunny but much cooler.

The last few weeks have been busy with some local travel going on. Kevin’s daughter had her housewarming party in Nanaimo a few weekends back so Kevin and I headed up there for the day. We got there early so enjoyed fish and chips on the wharf in downtown Nanaimo as well as some window shopping before heading to the party.

It was a beautiful sunny day especially considering it was Labour Day weekend. Picture perfect actually.

The next weekend my Mom and I took the ferry to the Mainland to visit my sister and her family. It rained the Saturday but the weather turned warmer on Sunday. Didn’t matter much though Mom and I spent most of Sunday at Ikea in Coquitlam doing some damage to my credit card. You should have seen us trying to fit everything in the back of the SUV and we still had to pick up my friend Karen from New York at the airport on the Monday. Ha we got it all in but it was a tight squeeze.

My wonderful nephew holding my sweet great niece Georgia. She is just too cute for words and loves to cuddle.

So on the Monday Mom and I picked up my friend Karen from New York and we headed for the ferry. We lucked right out and were able to see a pod of whales along side the ferry half way through the trip. Ha saved the money for having to take a whale watching trip.

I had made Karen a quilt (of course, that’s what I do) so here I am presenting it to her. The picture isn’t great. Kevin is awesome at editing videos, painting and music but picture taking isn’t one of his strengths yet.

It was fantastic seeing Karen again and getting to show her around the beautiful place where I live. I had a great time and it gave me the opportunity to see some places on the Island that I haven’t visited in quite some time.

We lucked out too as the weather held right up until her last two days here. We spent an afternoon touring Fort Rodd Hill which I hadn’t done in years. Above is a snapshoot of Fisgard Lighthouse.

Last Friday we went up the Island and stopped at Whippletree Junction for some shopping. I found a great old Elna sewing machine (which I haven’t taken a picture of yet) and two lamps. We had lunch at a great restaurant right on the water in Qualicum Beach and then stopped at Little Qualicum Falls. From there I took her to Cathedral Grove to see an ancient Douglas Fir ecosystem. It was so still and quiet in the Grove except of course for the cars on the highway. Oh well.

Karen flew back home on Tuesday and I miss her already. I had a great time playing tour guide and falling in love with Vancouver Island all over again.

With Autumn comes the cooler weather and of course quilts. People are starting to get back to sewing again and thinking it’s only a few months now until Christmas, so back to work to help my clients finish their projects.

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Weekend Fun at Qualicum Beach

The weather here in Victoria BC is still holding. It has been a beautiful summer albeit a bit smoky at times re the forest fires raging all around the province and into Washington and Oregon.

A couple of weekends ago I actually had a weekend off of work. It turns out that Kevin got contacted about a band reunion that was being held on the Sunday in Qualicum Beach. The timing was perfect so we made arrangements to join in the fun. This was a band, Chevy Ray and the Fins (sorry have no idea why that name) that is still playing in the Nanaimo area today. Kevin played in it for 3 years in the 80’s so this was quite the reunion with as many different former band members that they could contact. One even traveled here from Ontario to be a part of the reunion.

Since I had the weekend off Kevin and I decided to make a weekend of it and traveled up the Island on the Saturday, taking our time and making some “touristy stops” that we don’t normally do. It was a lot of fun and the weather was sunny and warm. We stayed at the Buena Vista by the Sea in beautiful Qualicum Beach BC on Saturday Night.

We checked in at 3:00 pm and then I settled down on one of the lounge chairs on the patio with an audio book where I could learn and enjoy the fantastic scenery at the same time. Kevin went down to the water and enjoyed a swim in the ocean. I prefer the tropics for that type of activity although he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

This was the view of the back of the Inn and one of the loungers I enjoyed.

The next day Kevin and I spent some time reading on the beach and then had a lunch in town before making our way further north to the reunion.

We had a really great time and even though it was only a one night getaway we both really felt like we had a wonderful break from the everyday things we do. What do they say, a change is as good as a rest.

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Time vs Money

What a beautiful summer we have been having here in Victoria BC. It has been a busy one too.

Have you ever thought about the term Time vs Money. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. We had a woman come into the store where I work the other day and she wanted a new sewing machine which would use a ruler foot (a foot that allows one to use long arm rulers on a domestic sewing machine). She had a sewing machine but it would not take a ruler foot and someone told her that machine quilting with rulers on a domestic sewing machine would solve all of her problems.

Here was the difficult part though. She didn’t want to spend the money to get a decent machine to make free motion quilting easy. She wanted the cheapest machine she could get. Unfortunately the more inexpensive machines, while being able to get a foot to fit, didn’t have the throat space she would need to enable the ruler to fit. The other factor is the more inexpensive machines may not have the best stitch quality for free motion quilting either.

When I started asking questions like how much experience she had with free motion and since she was just doing baby quilts why not just use a walking foot I got some interesting answers. First she had tried taking free motion classes and she said she just wasn’t any good (none of us are when we first start out). Second she said she was now using stencils and marking the quilts and then using a walking foot but she keeps going off the line and so it wasn’t perfect.

So why did she want to try rulers?! She was told by a group of woman that all her problems would be solved by using rulers on her domestic machine.

First it takes TIME to be good at anything and you are not going to be perfect when you first start. When you were little did you just hop on a bike and start riding? No you more than likely had training wheels and had a few falls first.

Second it does take MONEY to be good at something. You need to invest in the right tools. A good machine helps, you don’t need to spend thousands but a Walmart special may not cut it either. You also need to invest in some good classes whether they are in person or on-line. The rulers themselves are not cheap.

As I started asking this woman questions to find out how best I could serve her I learned that she wanted perfection without spending either the time or money.

Well, for one there is no such thing as perfection unless maybe you invest $30,000 in a computerized longarm and even then you have to spend time to learn how to use it.

For another, well, you just have to put in the time and practice and be willing with the knowledge that the quilting is hand guided and it is never going to be perfect.

So, sadly I was not able to help this woman as she was after something that simply did not exist. She wanted perfect machine quilting without spending the time to get better and without spending the money on the tools that would help her.

This incident has led me to think about things in my own life. Time vs Money how many times have we all come up against something similar?

Let me know in the comments if you have come up against this time vs money thing.

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Getting back to Normal (whatever that is)

Wow the smoke from the BC Mainland fires is really making things look like fall around here although it is still really warm outside these days. It would be downright unbearable if we could actually see the sun. I had a text from a cousin that lives south of Seattle and he sent a picture of the skies above him and the smoke from all of the Mainland BC forest fires has even reached down in his area. I don’t think I have ever seen a fire season as bad as this one in my lifetime. I am hearing of a lot of homes being lost and that is so sad.

I myself have been feeling better although I did overdo things yesterday and am paying the price today. It’s fine though and I am finally back to quilting (OK maybe not today but I have been).

  

This was a fun quilt to do. It was a Dresden plate quilt design made up of all different types of fabrics. In keeping with the more traditional design of the quilt, the client decided on just simple stipple quilting in the background. I know some people don’t like stipple quilting however, for this application and design I think it worked well.

I used three shades of Superior threads So Fine 50. A Royal Blue, Soft Mint Green and a yellow. I can’t recall the numbers at this time though.

I just completed another quilt for the same client, she had made a quilt using old hankies and had hand quilted most of it however decided she didn’t want to hand quilt the sashing and borders so asked me to again just machine stipple quilt it. I don’t have a picture of this quilt but we used a soft yellow to tie the colours in the hankies together and it worked well.

I finally got a picture of Kevin wearing the hat I knitted for him. So here it is.

This was a simple hat to knit and it should keep him nice and warm this winter when he is working outside.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far now to go and see about maybe having an ice cream cone.

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Life Update

OK it’s been way too long since I last posted. Life got in the way and not in a good way either. A few weeks ago I decided to move the blog to another site so I can start uploading videos. I was right in the middle of trying to figure it all out when I got sick!

Has anyone ever experienced vertigo before? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. I had a few warning dizzy spells but nothing serious. I had another dizzy spell one morning but after a few minutes it went away so I went on with my day and hoped it wasn’t anything serious.

Next morning I woke up and the world was spinning and completely out of control. I had my Mom take me to the emergency room where I spent the next 8 hours going through numerous tests and scans to ensure I didn’t have a brain tumour, or suffered a stroke. The good news is that all these tests came back negative. The bad news is that I was still sick.

This lasted for over a week with me barely being able to get out of bed. Not fun. It finally started to get better and then the fatigue set in. You know get up and do a couple of things then go back to bed and sleep for two hours, get up and do a couple more things and repeat process.

It’s been over two weeks now since this all started and I am only now getting back on my feet. I am still not 100% either as I am still off balance and now suffering from bad headaches. Today was the first day I woke up actually feeling closer to my normal self so fingers crossed I am finally on the mend.

Luckily I didn’t have a lot of client quilts waiting. I have been busy and it’s summer so I had wanted to take a bit of time for me so I only had one client quilt on the frame and nothing waiting. That said I wasn’t able to work on that quilt for over 10 days as I couldn’t stand at all let alone make it down the stairs to my studio. As soon as I could stand though I was downstairs working on the quilt even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time.

Here are pictures of a client quilt I finished before I got sick.

The other thing I was working on before I got sick was a knitting project. I picked up some wool last August at the annual fiber arts festival here in Victoria called Fibrations to make Kevin a hat for working outdoors in the winter. Well, last winter has come and gone and we were cleaning up and I found the skein of wool I had purchased.

I have now finished the “beanie” it was a free pattern I found somewhere on the internet however I still have to photograph it so that will have to come next post.

The wool was 70% Alpaca and 30% merino hand spun and hand dyed locally. It was wonderful and soft to work with. It would make an awesome sweater but the cost would be insane as one skein was $35.00.

Ha, as I was writing the above, the price of fabric and how much it costs to make a quilt just flashed in my mind so I guess it is all relative as the sweater would be beautiful, soft, warm, fairly waterproof and one of a kind so …..

Well, that’s about it. I will have pictures of the finished client quilt quilted (so much for quilting my own quilts although that may still happen yet) and of the finished hat maybe I can even talk Kevin into modeling it for me.

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