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.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal

 

 

 

 

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.

life-happens-quotes-5

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal

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).

georgia-macdonald-2

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.

georgia-macdonald-5

Proud parents Amanda and Grant MacDonald holding baby Georgia.

 

georgia-macdonald-4

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

georgia-macdonald-1

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.

georgia-macdonald-3

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

puppies-on-parade-1

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

Image result for new baby quotes

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal

New Year’s Reflections

Happy New Year! Wow I can’t believe another year has started. I never used to really think about this before but now that I am working for myself I am actually finding I am enjoying the process of looking back over 2016 of what worked, what didn’t and where I need to change my mindset. What I have discovered about myself is that I am still (and maybe always will do to some extent) carry around some limiting beliefs. These beliefs come in the package of “I’m not good enough”.

Over the years I have worked hard on this record that used to play in my head constantly. What I am discovering is that although I have done a lot of work to silence that record, there is still work to be done. I also never used to really think about what I wanted in life, OK maybe in very general terms, but not really specific, what do I really want my life to look like terms.

What I am learning is that because of my limiting beliefs, and the fact that I thought “I’m not good enough” I never really felt worthy enough to set down real goals so instead I kinda just floated through life hoping things would work out well. Not sure about how this works for anyone else but for me that didn’t always go so well and life would hit me over the head with something until I made a change. So, I would do the work make the change and then….. coast along no real direction until WHAM! Life happened again.

I have lived my life like that for years. What I am discovering now is that I have made so many changes that coasting just isn’t an option anymore but at the same time letting go of my limiting beliefs is also really scary. Lately I am feeling like I am in limbo land, I need to let go of the beliefs that are stopping me from moving forward however going back is also simply not an option either.

Along with the quilting, I also sell Mary Kay cosmetics, I have done this for 20 years in a very small way. Why haven’t I taken this further? Easy, I didn’t believe in myself so I stayed small. What I am realizing now in reflecting back over 2016 that although I am starting to venture out on my own, I am still thinking small. I am still trying to stay safe, but what is safe? Letting someone else who also has many limiting beliefs call the shots and dictate my life.

211736-brian-tracy-quote-you-begin-to-fly-when-you-let-go-of-self

So 2017 is the year I need to really make some changes. I am in the process of setting some big goals and one of those is to start thinking BIG! Feel the fear and do it anyway! I mean look how far I have come in 2016. I have started my own business, stepped out of my comfort zone in writing this blog and so many other ways. I have tried to go back, tried applying for jobs, and although I didn’t get the jobs I realized in the process that I really, really didn’t want to go back to that life anyway. One of the reasons I am not getting the jobs is that I am long passed playing the games. I am simply not willing to compromise myself to stay and look small because of someone else’s fears. I am not willing to work for someone I can’t respect. I know there are some who won’t agree with me on this one, but I have worked for some really fantastic people and some hmm not so fantastic, very fear based people and at this point in the game I am only willing to work for the fantastic ones. The ones who get that we are in this life together and there is enough for all and treating people with respect and dignity is the only way to get anything done.

unknown-29

So here’s to 2017 and making BIG scary goals!! Ones that stretch me outside of my comfort zone and keep me moving forward and out of limbo land.

So how about you? Anyone else making BIG goals this year? If yes, please share them in the comments as I would love to hear what they are.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal

How to Create a Pantograph using Electric Quilt 7

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. We had a very quiet Christmas around here with just Kevin, myself, Mom and of course the two fur babies Cocoa and Mia. We just do stockings as really there is not much we need or want anymore but it’s fun to have something to look forward to under the tree. Kevin then made a Christmas brunch and he also made a big turkey feast so he was kept busy. Before anyone feels sorry for him he really loves to cook so for him it’s a pleasure where for me it would be a chore.

It’s been a quiet week so far with both Kevin and I sleeping later than normal and just spending some quiet time in the morning. I have been doing a lot of journaling these past few days. Looking back at what I accomplished in 2016 and writing down my goals for 2017. I have come a long way in 2016. Sometimes when you are in it, you don’t feel like that but when you actually look back to where you started to where you are now it’s quite amazing. What I have discovered is that I have worked through a lot of fear this year. Oh, I still have a lot to work out. It seems that just as soon as I work through one set of fears and become calm within a week another new set comes and I have to continue the process all over again.

Mia is finally settling in. She has even spent short amounts of time on our laps. She doesn’t like it when Cocoa is on my lap though she comes up and swipes at him, claws are not out and it appears she is trying to get him to play with her.  Not sure what that is all about. Here is a favourite perch of hers she likes to sit up there and look out the window.

mia-on-piano-1

How to Create a Pantograph Using Electric Quilt 7

As promised here is how I create my own pantographs using EQ7.

What is a pantograph you might ask? A quilting pantograph is a pattern, usually 10 to 12 feet long and can be different widths, with a pattern that repeats along the length of the paper. The design along the length of the paper will correspond to what will be quilted along the width of your quilt.

Paper Pantographs can be purchased from many different sources and come in different difficulty levels from fairly easy to quite complicated. If you have a computerized quilting machine you can also get digitized versions of the patterns that can be programmed into the quilting machines computer program.

For this exercise I am going to try to explain how to create your own custom pantograph using the Electric Quilt computer program.

First you need to do is to choose a design you want to use. This can be a drawing you do yourself, a border design you really like that you may want to do as an all over quilting design or a copyright free image you have found.

Next, you have to transfer this image into the Electric Quilt 7 software.  You can do this a number of different ways but the easiest is to draw your image onto a piece of paper and then scan it as a .jpeg file and save it to a folder on your computer.

Take this paw print from a colouring page

  1. To turn this into a pantograph it will need some continuous lines drawn in. The first thing you need to do is save this image as a .jpeg file.
  2. Then open it in an image editing software program (Irfan View is free) and rotate the image so it’s on its side
  3. Save this image to your computer
  4. Open Electric Quilt 7 and start a new project. I called mine Paw Print Pantograph
  5. Import the .jpeg file into EQ7

Importing and Tracing an Image in EQ7 

  1. In EQ7, go toWork on Block. 
  2. Along the bottom of the screen, click the Tracing Image
  3. Click on Import Image   . Go to where you save your scanned image and select it.
  4. A Crop Image box appears. From here you can crop your image if required. Select OK when done. Use the Shift key and drag to place the image on your worktable.
  5. Once the image is on your worktable, click on the Appliqué
  6. Using your drawing tools you can now trace your sketch to recreate the image.
  7. To check your tracking hide the tracing image
  8. In the case of the paw drawing above I traced the image and then used the drawing tool to join the areas for a continuous drawing.

For information on how to trace an image in Electric Quilt 7 please see the Electric Quilt help files.

paw-print-pic-eq7

Once you are happy with the image you have created it is now time to take this to be used in a pantograph.

  1. To create a custom pantograph the first thing you need to know is how wide the quilt top is that you want your design to cover. Once you have that measurement then subtract at least 1 inch. For example if your quilt top measures 60 inches then you will want to create your pantograph at 59 inches wide.
  2. So for this example pantograph I am going to make it 59 by 8 so I will change the block from 59 to 8 and then you will need to use the zoom functions to zoom in close and resize your block. I have recorded a short video on how I did this.
  3. Once this is complete simply print it out and tape it together and place on your longarm.

I created a video on how I created the above but my WordPress site doesn’t support video so I need to upgrade it. I don’t have the time to look into that right at this moment so I will have to post the video on my Facebook page and fix this up once I set up a new website/blog. That was on my list for 2017 so obviously it will be sooner in the year than later.

The finished pantograph will not look 100% perfect but you have to remember that this is just a guideline and once it is all quilted it will look great.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal