Vintage Valentine Finish!

I am finally finished the Vintage Valentine Quilt!

Only 17 years in the making! I spent many hours quilting it.

I am always so surprised when I take a quilt off the frame. I have a handiQuilter Avante which has an 18 inch throat space. Truthfully when I am doing custom work I couldn’t really work on anything larger than that, my arms simply aren’t that long.

However, what I find is that you are concentrating so hard on that small space and in that space you see every error and imperfection.

Then, when you finally take that quilt off the frame and stand back. Wow!

Suddenly all those imperfections blend in with the whole and they are not noticeable anymore.


I am so proud of myself over this quilt. Normally, I let fear and judgement stop me. I have left quilt tops sitting for years as I was too scared to quilt them the way I wanted them to be quilted. I mean, what if I made a mistake!

Not this time, I knew that this quilt deserved something more than simple all over quilting or even light custom quilting.

I’m glad I decided to just go for it even though I used so many new to me techniques.

 When I finally pulled this quilt off the frame it took my breath away! I was so happy with the result, mistakes and all.

I LOVED quilting this quilt. I had client quilts backing up in my queue so I ended up quilting until midnight for 2 nights just to get this off my frame.

I so enjoyed the process of both the quilting and the design phase that I am now thinking up different designs for the Flower Basket quilt top that is next on my list. I was originally thinking of just doing something simple but am rethinking that now. This one might prove to be more challenging as it has a black background however, we’ll see.

Lesson Learned

For anyone just starting out with your quilting and you get anxious over your mistakes, really, unless they are HUGE, once that quilt is finished, and you are looking at the quilt as a whole, you will never, ever see the imperfections.

It’s kinda like life, when you stand back and look at your life as a whole, the imperfect parts drift away.

Remember to keep challenging yourself it’s the only way to grow and improve in both quilting and life! 

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?

Keeping Busy in the New Normal

Interestingly, and I think I have mentioned this before, my world doesn’t look that much different these days than it did before. I mean I have been working from home now for a couple of years and I don’t tend to go out much anyway.

I do miss going to church on Sundays and going out for dinner or lunch but besides that, my life revolves around my bedroom office, the occasional foray into the kitchen and down into my quilting studio.

Thank goodness I was able to get my studio back together before this pandemic! Oh, my it was bad enough without it for 3 months, but not having it and being stuck inside would have been really pushing the limits.

Cocoa Update

Cocoa is doing great after his dental surgery. Having 16 teeth out seems like a lot but he still seems to be able to eat without any issues. His teeth must have been bothering him though without us really even noticing (don’t you wish animals could talk to us) as he is a lot more playful and even gets the zoomies again. He tries so hard to get the cat to play with him. She just sits and looks at him with that superior expression that only cats can have.

I take him back to the vet tomorrow for a checkup to make sure everything is going ok however I am sure it is.

Client Quilting

Since everyone is stuck inside what do quilters do? Well, quilt of course, and thankfully for me, that means I am able to keep busy. I am really glad that I have been able to figure out a way to exchange quilts while still keeping everyone safe.

Thank goodness for mobile phone cameras and email! It’s not quite as nice as being able to chat with my clients and getting to know them but hey, whatever works.

It does seem weird to hand off a quilt and get paid for work that the client hasn’t even seen yet. So far so good and it does seem to be working out well.

I recently had a new client call me, someone who isn’t actually a quilter but who wanted a custom “bed spread” done. She had gone to a designer place as she wanted something to match the décor in her bedroom so she carefully chose her fabric and quilting design and was told they would send her the quote. 

The quote came back at over $4500.00. Well, to make a long story short she decided to see if she could replicate the look herself. She found some upholstery fabric she loved on sale and put the “top” together however she needed to get it quilted. A friend of hers recommended me and so between the two of us, we figured out how to get this done.

I was a little nervous as I had never quilted on upholstery fabric before however I needn’t have worried. The results were stunning! It looks so nice I may have to try one for myself. She just emailed me to say she loves it and I am glad because it was king-sized and heavy and upholstery fabric frays a lot more than quilting cotton so like I said I was a little worried.

The fabric was beautiful by itself however once it was quilted with a simple design the fabric just seemed to shimmer and shine in certain lights.

So, she was able to get a custom king-sized bed covering for a fraction of the cost of $4500.00.

Hmm, maybe I should start doing custom quilts like that?! Then again maybe not.

Getting some Therapy Time In

Of course, with everything else going on, one has to get some quilting therapy in too. I completed the Flower Basket quilt top (some people call it a flimsy). I am so glad I decided to just forego the hand applique in the flower baskets! Yes, it would have looked lovely, but the quilt would still be unmade and unloved too. So, for me, the decision to forge ahead without the applique was the best and right decision. I did have to change the borders up because the border print I was using was not the same widths as what was used in the pattern. Thank goodness for innovation!

Square in a Square

The other “project” I have been working on is making square in a square samples. Years ago I bought a book and ruler at a quilt show in Portland Oregon called Square in a Square. I purchased this because I really didn’t like making that block and every time I did it always turned out wonky. Consequently, I simply avoided any quilt designs that used that block.

So, there the book and ruler sat for literally years. With everyone at home, a lot of people are taking the time to shift gears and put on online courses or webinars where before they would do this at quilt shows. Quilt shows, of course, aren’t happening right now, so the “smart” innovative (there’s that word again) people are quickly shifting gears and diving into the online realm. Well, so is the author of the square in a square system. I have been watching her free webinars and finally pulled out the book and ruler and have been doing up some practise blocks. They are PERFECT! Every time I might add without a wonky bit to be seen! Should have tried this years ago!

Next Project

In keeping with the theme of finishing off my quilting kits that I once purchased I have pulled out a relatively easy next project. It is a quilting kit I purchased 5 years ago in Hawaii using bark cloth and quilting cotton. I am looking forward to working on this one.

That will just leave me two quilt kits left! Both of those ones will be a lot more challenging, one of which is another paper piecing project. We’ll see how that all goes together.

So, how have you been spending your time indoors? What kinds of projects have you been tackling?  Quilting, Gardening, or some other DIY project?

Let me know in the comments I would love to hear from you.

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!