Quilting Vintage Valentine Forever Hand Applique Project

Have you ever tried to get good at something and then given up because you start comparing your work, life or whatever it is you are trying to achieve to someone else?

Well, that is totally happening to me for the past two weeks. I finally had a lull in between client quilts (more are on the way) so I decided to put the endless Vintage Valentine hand applique quilt on the frame.

Now, do I just throw the quilt on the frame, quilt it with all-over design and call it done? No, I decide to practise and do something different, something I wouldn’t do on a client quilt (it would take far too long).

Of course, the design is something I don’t do on a consistent basis, not to mention something I have actually never done before, so I immediately went into comparison mode and ended up walking away from the project completely depressed because my quilting didn’t look perfect like all of the quilters in the magazines and online that win awards.

It’s also the first time I have ever used a blue washout marking pen on an actual quilt, not just a practice piece, and I was so nervous, especially as I have spent years on this baby!

Sigh, of course, it wouldn’t look like that, it is something I have never done before. To get as good as the award winners would mean that I would have to put hours of practice in, something I obviously haven’t done. Quilting pantographs or even light custom quilting isn’t the same as starting on “micro quilting”.

There is a quote from Marie Forleo that I came across the other day “Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently”.

This quote is so true and something I obviously forget when I start thinking I am going to be perfect at something on my very first try.

Now, truthfully the quilting isn’t bad, I am obviously not a total novice, but when it comes to some of these designs, I do need more practice.

But, hey, I am branching out, and getting it done! When the quilt is off the frame it will look amazing (as long as you don’t look too closely). With all of the work I have done with this quilt I am not giving it away so putting the extra time and effort into it is worth it for me.

I am actually really proud of myself for just getting in and trying something different instead of taking the easy way out.

Way to go me!

How about you, do you expect perfection on the first try?

Sweet Diversions

Who knew that going through the McDonald’s drive-through would be the highlight of the day! Seriously, and this from someone who hates drive-throughs.

However, that is exactly what happened the other day. It was a beautiful day and so Kevin and I decided to go for a quick drive and we ended up going through the Golden Arches aka McDonald’s drive-through and then found a scenic spot (of the ones that weren’t blocked off) to sit and have a picnic in the car.

Now, I guess we could have packed a lunch ourselves but sometimes you just don’t want the bother.

It’s funny when you have choices galore you forget to appreciate the abundance of nature that is all around you. I know that only going out when necessary has made me truly cherish those outings. Ok, maybe not the grocery store!

Who else finds the grocery store incredibly stressful these days? It can’t be just me!

Info Update

Since we are all into the social distancing thing these days and I can’t explain the different thread choices to my clients in person I have made a short video explaining the different thread types. I have added it to the Quilt Top Preparation page. Choosing the Right Thread for your quilt top. 

Vintage Valentine Quilting Dilemma

I have finished my last client quilt for the moment and my frame was empty, so I finally loaded my endless Vintage Valentine project on the frame. This was my hand applique project I started way back when.

You know, I find it so much easier to pick quilting designs for client quilts. My own, not so much. I guess because on my own I want to try something new, however then I get all worried that it won’t be the right design or I won’t like it, or it will be horrible because it’s new and …… well, you can see my dilemma. I can talk myself out of almost anything and the ideas go around and round.

I need to just stop, try something new and enjoy the process.

Oh well, at least I can start with stitch in the ditch and then figure things out as I go. Maybe I will actually have this thing finished before next Valentine day.

What was I thinking when I started this project? I don’t like hand applique and I don’t particularly like hearts. Nevertheless, I am forging ahead.

New Projects

Last post I mentioned starting one of my last three kits that I had purchased however that project got a little sidetracked.

The other day I was looking for something stashed under my long cutting counter when I came across three bins of fabric that I had stored there.

What’s this! More fabric! Ok to be fair one bin had all the unused leftover fabric from the Vintage Valentine project. I had it stored in a separate container so that I wouldn’t inadvertently use the fabric for another project.

The other two bins were from a neighbour (and former client) who had recently passed away. Her husband had asked if I wanted to come over and see if there was anything I could use from her stash before he got rid of everything.

Didn’t have to ask me twice. Not that I need more projects or fabric mind you.

I have lots of .5 metre or metre pieces but not a lot of larger pieces so when it comes to backings I am having to go and purchase them. My neighbour happened to have lots of pieces that were over 2 metres so I gathered up those pieces.

Along with all of that she had two bins with projects that were started but not completed and, on a whim, I had taken those too.

So, ok now I am completely diverted and opened up this one bin with half done projects and there was one with two blocks completed and two more cut out, no pattern to be found, 1 orphan block from another project but using some of the same fabrics and the leftover fabric pieces.

What I discovered was that there wasn’t enough background fabric to complete an overall quilt of any size, so I made two larger table runners.

These are totally not me. I don’t use fabric from all one line in a project, I find there is just not enough colour contrast or variety for me. Oh, I think they look nice enough, but it is not something I would use or keep.

So, I will quilt these up and then offer them up to the church to go on the Holiday Craft Table and someone else can love them.

I had fun using up the orphan block and all the bits and pieces of fabric I had to create the backs. Once these were completed, I didn’t have very much fabric left at all. Just a few scraps to be used in a scrap quilt somewhere down the line.

How are you managing to keep yourself diverted? Any drive-through experiences these days?

Quilting in Strange Times

Inside Happenings!

Don’t know what else to call it really! I have started making bread every other day, it is just a quick artisan loaf however I am thinking maybe it’s time to branch out and try other types of bread. We’ll see.

I baked a cake last night. It must have been 20 years or so since I last did that. I even iced it! Well, you can tell I don’t eat that many sweets these days as I found the cake and icing far too sweet. I think I may need to stick to brownies or cookies in the future.

I live in a townhouse complex, it’s a really nice one built 30 years ago. People who come into our complex are amazed that this type of place even exists. It’s kind of like driving through a brand-new housing development these days. In the new developments, the houses are so close together they might as well be touching. In ours, we have 4 units that are attached then green space then another 4 units and so on. We have lots of green space unlike townhouses built today that have no green space. I am so lucky too, as I look out over trees as Colquitz Creek is right behind our unit.  Currently the wild cherry trees are in full bloom behind us. 

Anyway, we also have a clubhouse used for social events however since COVID-19 it is now closed for those activities so what have the neighbours done? When the sun is shining, they get their lawn chairs and place them at the end of their driveways so that they can keep their social distancing and still have their afternoon happy hour! It’s a little disconcerting if you have to walk or drive through the middle of these gatherings but they are keeping their 2 metres apart. Last weekend there were several of these little clutches all throughout the complex. A couple of people took their chairs and hopped from group to group (keeping their distance of course).

I must be a bit strange as I passed by these groups while taking the dog for a walk and waved and said my hellos however, I had no desire to join in the groups themselves. Hmm, I wonder what that says about me? I mean, I have been inside for over 3 weeks now. That said I do hop onto Zoom calls with friends and use the Marco Polo app to keep in touch with others so maybe for me that is enough.

4 Legged Family Members

The one thing that has been going on this week is that Cocoa had to have dental surgery. I won’t even tell you how much that cost! I will say it was a lot! Enough that I had two friends that actually said they would never have spent that much on just a pet!

I guess the difference for me is that when I adopted Cocoa 6 years ago now, I knew that one day I would need to put out money for dental work as he had already had 6 teeth removed and who knows how long he was abandoned with no real nutritious food. It had taken a toll on his teeth and gums for sure and he was getting older and I noticed some of his teeth were really getting loose.

So, it was time, and he ended up having 16 teeth removed. I was even asked why I didn’t just put him down instead of spending that kind of money. I was a little shocked at that though, I mean he is part of the family when I adopted him, I made a commitment to keep him happy and healthy.

I guess if you’re not an animal person, you don’t understand. Just as I wouldn’t put a human down if I had to spend money on them, if they needed dental surgery, I am not about to put down my best 4-legged buddy either unless it really is their time to go.

I will say my empathy to all living creatures does not extend to spiders, mosquitos or cockroaches. Ugh!

Cocoa with a lot of frosting these days

Mia looking as regal as ever!

Quilting in these Times

I have some client quilts that I have been working on, between myself and the clients we figured out a way to drop and pick quilts up while still keeping everyone safe. It is not my preferred way to do things as I really enjoy the in-person consultation however in these times you do whatever it takes.

As for the Jinny Beyer Block of the Month quilt, it is coming along, now that I made the decision to drop the hand applique flowers in the baskets, I have made really good progress on it.

The top currently is in two sections so one final seam to sew together and then to figure out what to do about the border!

Since my border print was different than the one used for the pattern I will need to come up with an alternate plan. I originally thought I might use the gold fabric as an inner border however, I don’t have enough of that fabric left and the store where I bought the fabric is not currently open.

So, onto plan B. Whatever I do, I’m sure it will look great and I do love it when I get to put my own spin on things.

What kind of things are happening in your neighbourhood, are people staying in or figuring out their own ways to be social from a distance?

Staying Home! Love it or Hate it!

For some people staying inside can be incredibly hard, they need to be out meeting people. These people get their energy from being around other people.

I don’t happen to be one of those people. I really enjoy my time alone so staying inside in quiet introspection is not hard for me.

The other thing is my health, I had come down with a nasty cold which turned into the flu last week. Sigh just when I was starting to feel better. No, it’s not the “virus” as I talked to my doctor and currently, there is a bad cold (yup), two strains of flu and well as COVID-19 going around. Hopefully, with everyone staying indoors that will flatten both the cold, flu and “virus” curves all at the same time.

Meanwhile, I will stay in and get healthy!

Watching TV

Two things I gave up when moving into my new home 5 years ago now was cable tv and a landline telephone. I haven’t missed either one. I do have Netflix and I recently subscribed to Acorn TV.

Lately, Netflix has put on a lot of older movies which I really appreciated while I was not feeling well. I could revisit old favourite romantic comedies which I haven’t watched in awhile. You know I am not feeling well if I am laying on the couch watching TV as that is something that rarely happens. The TV can sit there idle for weeks. Poor thing probably gets lonely it gets used so infrequently.

As for the Acorn TV, the one thing I do enjoy is a good murder mystery and the brits do that the best, so I can get my fill of British murder mysteries on that subscription. Only thing is as I don’t watch that much TV it can take weeks to go through one new series.

Quilting in Stay at Home Order

If you’re a quilter like me then that means more time to quilt! Yeah! So many platforms have free webinars and classes right now, so it is a great time to learn new things if you are into that.

Last year I was determined to get all of my unfinished projects finished and also all of my quilt kits that were sitting around. I had made a really good indent into when the “flood” happened and some of my quilting was put on hold. I was able to get my forever hand quilting project finished though. It still hasn’t been quilted but hey, at least it’s a top.  

Years ago, I had purchased a Jinny Beyer striped border print and put it aside not knowing what on earth I was ever going to do with it. While in 2015 Craftsy (remember them) had a free Jinny Beyer block of the month quilt. Of course, it was a different border print, but I thought it would be fun to do the pattern and use the border print I had bought so long ago. Well, it’s been a challenge, that’s for sure as Jinny uses templates, partial seams and all kinds of tricky techniques. That said it’s coming together, and I was mostly able to use my stash except the background fabric.

 

Well, the quilt called for hand applique. Yup, the dreaded hand applique. The very thing I had sworn I would never do again. That quilt stayed in its little project box for 3 months before I took it out and decided to try hand applique again. I cut out all of the pieces for one block and even started and then 6 weeks later, there it sat.

Trouble was, I had promised myself I wouldn’t start any other project until the one I was working on was finished, so NOTHING was getting done, in fact, I was avoiding going in the studio unless I was working on a client quilt.

Well, this is no good! So last week I took it out and looked at it, can I just do fusible applique? The pieces are really small (they were to be flowers in the basket). Would it matter if I just didn’t do the applique at all? So, I finally decided that enough was enough, I don’t mind fusible applique or even hand applique with larger pieces, but small pieces and hand applique are just NOT for me. I don’t care what method is being used.

The baskets are just going to have to be flowerless and I am ok with that. I can tell because as soon as I made that decision, I felt a weight come off my shoulders and once again I am back at it in the quilt studio.

Quilting can be so much like life can’t it? Except in quilting, I could make the decision that I just didn’t want to do it and could move forward. Sometimes in life, we can’t always do that.

So how are things going with you?

Are you getting a lot of quilting done?

Keep moving forward in life!

So it Starts!

It’s official! Yup, we have entered a whole new year!

What will this new year bring I wonder? Do you look at the new year with dread or with possibilities?

I think in the past I always looked at the new year with well, maybe not dread, but maybe you know, same old same old, wishing and hoping things would change but not really believing it or doing anything to actually make the change.

Now, it’s 2020 and I am sitting here with so many possibilities in my life. Many I couldn’t even have dreamed of when my world literally fell apart. They say things happen for you not to you and whenever you look back on your life you can see that. You can’t see it when it’s happening to you.

One of the reasons I have been so silent on this blog this last season is that in October we had a flood. Not just any flood either. The townhouse complex where I live happens to be directly across from a fire hydrant. Now you might be saying, hey how lucky can you get however we weren’t so lucky that day in October. 

You see, the fire hydrant was due to be replaced and so everything was arranged. Kevin and I heard the machinery come in the morning and didn’t think too much about it. Then, Kevin had to go downstairs for something. “Hey Janice, we have water pouring in down here”! Wait what!!

 Kevin went to go outside and stopped dead in his tracks. Oh, my we have water coming in the front door too. He put his rubber boats on which go to his knees to slug through the lake that had developed by our front door and the water was so deep it flowed over his boots.

 Turns out the pipe in the ground burst and the company doing the work (whom I can’t name at present) hadn’t done their due diligence and had no idea how to turn the water off. It was Kevin who phoned 911 and got hold of the fire department who in turn got hold of the city to have the water shut off. Meanwhile 30 minutes of water rushing through our unit and under the street caused a LOT of damage.

 There ended up being damage to over 11 units with our unit and the one next door to us having the worst of it.

 My quilting studio had to be completely dismantled and we are only now getting things put back together. We still have to have all new flooring laid in the upstairs of our unit so this nightmare isn’t over yet.

 Someone actually had the audacity to say to me, well aren’t you lucky you get all new floors for free. Well, it’s not actually free, there is the time, stress, Insurance companies, inconvenience as well as deductible costs among many other things. Not to mention the fact that I LIKED my floors and didn’t actually need new ones. Ok maybe the ugly carpet on the stairs needed replacing but having a flood is a hell of a way to get that replaced.

Click on below images to see larger view. 

 

What about Quilting

How did all of this affect my goal to complete as many older quilt projects as I could for 2019? Well, it did put a damper on it for sure. However, I did manage to finish a few and here are the finished pics.

Click on below images to see a larger view. 

The other thing it forced me to do was finish my hand applique project I have been working on for over 15 years. I have actually finished the top except for the borders. As soon as I get my studio back together and access to my long arm I am going to have to get this one quilted.

Well, that’s the update from me, hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and back ready to tackle more quilty projects for 2020.

 

A Wedding

On Saturday, June 15, 2019, my oldest nephew got married. In Hope BC no less. Now for those of you reading this and don’t know where Hope BC is, it is on the mainland and it is usually NOT a destination stop, more of a passing through to somewhere else kinda place. Kevin and I walked the downtown (main street) several times over (it is a very small town) It is a town that actually has quite a history as Kevin and I learned as we walked around. I had been there a couple of times before but usually only passing through. Once when starting on a camping trip pulling a trailer and a computer check engine light came on. Hope was the closest place to stop to see if we could get it repaired. They didn’t have a Jeep dealer in town (they don’t have much) but they did have a mechanic who was willing to call Jeep and have them walk him through the repair. He dropped everything else to help us too. I must say small towns are usually great for those types of things.

 

 

On Saturday morning they had a craft fair in the park which consisted of 10 vendors. It took us 20 minutes to walk through it, and then only because we stopped to talk to the vendors. It was a good way to spend a beautiful sunny warm morning though.

The Venue

The wedding was held at American Creek Lodge which was a little ways out of the town and up a logging road. A shuttle bus was arranged to pick guests up from several motel locations around the town and ferry us all up and back from the venue. I am so glad to, wouldn’t have even wanted to attempt that road at night!

The day was beautiful, not too hot with a nice breeze and what a backdrop. The scenery was truly stunning. The ceremony was held outdoors with the bride and groom standing on a platform, (see yellow arrow) with the stunning view out if front of them. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics of that. Have to see if I can get some.

An Aside Note

I have an aside note story that some of you reading this would understand right away and some of you maybe never will and that’s ok. My Dad passed away over 9 years ago now. He was really into trains! I mean totally into them, so much so that he had a model railroad in the basement. On road trips, if he saw a train going by (on smaller two-lane highways, not on freeways) he would stop the car, grab the camera and take tons of pictures of the train as it was going by. I had noticed trains snaking their way through the canyon below as we were waiting for the ceremony to start but they went by silently.

So, everyone is assembled, the bride and groom are at the alter and the person officiating was just about to start when a train whistle blew, and it blew again and again. No train whistle blew before the ceremony and none after. The timing was too perfect for it to have been a coincidence. I knew Dad was there and watching. Maybe you don’t believe in such things, and that is ok you don’t have to. My Mom and I both knew and that is all that matters.

Family

It’s true, families tend to only gather for weddings and funerals. It’s a shame really. I guess we all live such busy lives these days that these are the only times we make time for family especially the further apart we live. It was great to see some family members again, some that I haven’t seen in over a year, and it was also bittersweet regarding the family members that couldn’t make it such as my aunt and uncle who are getting older and facing some pretty difficult life challenges.

Family doesn’t just consist of blood though. My sister Joyce and I grew up with a long-time friend Lora in our old neighbourhood. We consider her a part of the family and it was so good to spend time with her as well as with the cousins.

Smocking

When I was young my Mom smocked dresses and blouses for my sister and myself. I took up the hobby in the ’80s but lost interest however I had kept a lot of the supplies. Mom decided she wanted to smock dresses for her great-grandchildren so both my two great-nieces got dresses as well as Kate’s (the bride) little niece who was in the wedding party. These types of dresses look adorable and never really seem to go out of style. Mom did a fantastic job and the dresses all fit beautifully.

A Perfect Weekend

The next morning a lot of us met up for breakfast before departing, going on our separate ways. It was a beautiful weekend. The venue, mountain scenery, great weather and fantastic company all made for a perfect weekend wedding getaway.

Remember, to keep in touch with family and friends, make sure you see them more than just weddings and funerals.

Next up I will be documentation my Japan trip, so stay tuned.