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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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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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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Life Happens

Do you ever have those times when you feel you just can’t win? Well I am going through one of those times. Life has been hectic and my schedule has been crazy lately. I am trying to work two jobs and run a business as well.

Why two jobs you might ask? Well I went through a period over Christmas and part of the new year with no quilts or money coming in so I started looking for part time work.  I got hired as a casual at one place and then another called as well. Now all of this wouldn’t be bad except my Mother and I made vacation plans way back in August of last year and we are leaving in two weeks.

So here I am trying to scramble and get everything done before I go. I have been putting in long hours to make it all work and I was almost there when it happened….

I broke a needle on the longarm while quilting a quilt. Doesn’t sound like much does it… except the tip of the needle got jammed in the hook race and now the timing is off on the machine and I can’t fix it. Sigh, so now here I sit with client quilts waiting to be done and no way to complete them. Hopefully I can get this fixed this week however that only gives me one week to finish everything else. I have already called one client and will hand her quilt back to her as I know I won’t get to it in time now. I had a charity quilt all ready to go too and I have had to call and let them know that I won’t be able to complete that until May. I have one quilt on the frame and one other quilt which I am not sure of now. So much for my well scheduled life.

I guess maybe life is trying to tell me I had things too scheduled and maybe I did. Normally, if I wasn’t going on vacation this really wouldn’t be that big of a setback as it will only put things out a week or so. It just so happens that this time I don’t have that extra week to spare. So here I sit, I had scheduled today, tomorrow and Wednesday as complete quilting days and now that is not going to happen.

Oh well, there is nothing I can do about it but try to make it better but it does show me that I am going to have to find out how to repair my machine myself as losing days or weeks of business is just not cost effective.

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A New Family Member

Well another week has gone by and again I am finally sitting down to do a blog post. I don’t know how these people who blog every day do it. Oh well.

It’s been a busy week for me as I had several deadlines to meet this week and then I heard from my sister that my nephew’s wife had gone into labour even though she was at least 1 month early. Well, that put plans into a tailspin. In a good way though.

My new great niece was born on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. My nephew and his wife named her Georgia Evelyn MacDonald. She weighed 6 lbs 7 oz and is a beauty (in my humble opinion).

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This is my Mom’s first Great Grandchild and so she really wanted to go and be with the family. Mom and I live in Victoria BC which is located on Vancouver Island. My sister and her family live on the Mainland spread out to three areas, Port Moody, New Westminster and Mission BC. So anyway Mom and I made the trek over to the Mainland on Thursday to see the new arrival. I came back Friday morning because of the threat of snow and Mom stayed on to visit for a few more days.

It was so worth it. Georgia is simply beautiful. On Wednesday morning my sister woke to the alarm clock radio and the song that was playing was Georgia on my mind. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

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Proud parents Amanda and Grant MacDonald holding baby Georgia.

 

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My nephew Grant holding baby Georgia. By the look on his face she already has him wrapped around her finger.

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This picture is a little blurry sorry about that. It’s my Mom holding Georgia her first great grandchild with my sister Joyce looking on.

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Finally me holding my great niece. She made my heart melt and I am so looking forward to getting to know her better.

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I finished Georgia’s quilt Wednesday night so I could take it with me.

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