Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Batik Placemats


I wanted to finish one last small project before going back to work after my summer break.  I found a Sandpiper Bali Snap in my stash and realized it would be perfect for new placemats.  I decided on  a very simple 3 x 4 square pattern as I wanted them to be large so I needed 48 squares to make 4 placemats so had to add two extra fabrics from my stash for each mat.


I quilted them with random wavy lines as I like my placemats quilted heavily to keep their shape.  I used batik fabric on the back so it will all shrink as the same percentage and not warp. Quilters Dream Blend batting and So Fine beige thread.  I do my binding on placemats by machine by sewing to the back and turning to the front then stitching them down.  I would never do this on a regular quilt as I prefer the look of a hand stitched binding.  But for a placemat it is  a quicker method and I didn’t have to hand stitch batik binding to a batik backing…not something I enjoy!


This is one of those days that taking pictures indoors worked better than outdoors.  It was cloudy so the outdoor pictures did not show the quilting so the natural light coming through the windows worked much better.  I had a nice shout out today on my quilt photography on the APQS blog, you can read their article on quilt photography here.  I also have a post on how to take quilt pictures which I wrote a few years ago.  You can check out here if your interested in reading my tips on quilt photography.  The only change since I wrote the article is I now use a DSLR camera ( Canon Rebel T4i).


Friday, August 26, 2016



A few years ago my Grandmother gave me her old Singer hand crank sewing machine as it was just too heavy for her to haul out and use anymore.  The case is made out of oak, so definitely not a featherweight!   It had also belonged to my Great Grandmother and she had bought it second hand.    I have been wanting to play with it since I got it and I finally sat down to figured out how to thread it!  Stitches like a dream. It is not in mint condition, lot of scratches in the paint and dents in the wood but that is what makes it special.  It is fun to think of all the thing that were made on this machine in our family. I looked up the serial number on the Singer website and it was made in 1905 in Great Britain.


I’m pretty sure the bobbin case has been replaced as it looks quite new.   I was a bit confused at first when I saw the needle was in sideways but then realized the bobbin case was turned compared to modern machines.



The designs have an Egyptian theme.  


The hand crank moves very smoothly and as long as I don’t turn it too fast, yes I like to sew fast, then the stitches are very nice!


Not one that you want to take to retreats! It is so heavy!


It would be fun to piece a simple quilt top on this one day though!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rapid Fire Hunters Star–Red and White


I’ll be starting back to quilting for my client again next week but I needed to finish one more quilt for our guild.  This is a Rapid Fire Hunters Star quilt and we used the ruler of the same name by Studio 180 Designs to piece it.  There are two rulers and we used the Large Star one and made the 8” blocks in a 8 x 8 layout making it 72” x72” with a 4” border.   You can also use the Petit Star ruler and make the 8” block but the stars are smaller using that ruler. Our guild will be using this quilt for our One Day Raffle at our local Christmas Craft Sales and it is a great one day fundraiser for our group. You can sell a lot of tickets when you tell people the quilt is drawn today!  We are working on a second one that is red, green and white that I hope to quilt next month.


I used the Bountiful Feathers pantograph as it matches the feathery print in the red fabrics.  I used white So Fine thread on top and white Bottom Line on the white backing.   I chose white thread as I prefer light threads on dark fabrics over dark threads on light fabrics. That way the white background stays fresh and crisp looking without adding random red lines of thread on it.


Summer is coming to a close up here.  I have noticed a few leaves on the birch trees changing colour but we are still enjoying +20’c days.  Now that calm lake is calling me, time to get the kayak in the water!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mini Charm Pillows


A few months ago I purchased a few Mini Charm packs at our Quilt Show from Road 17 N.   The Moda fabric collection is called Nocturne and I loved the soft greys, beiges, blues and navy prints in this line.   Yesterday I decided to make two pillow for my blue couch out of these fabrics.   I had two  14” x14” pillow forms so sewed together 49 mini charms ( 7x7) for one pillow.  I’m glad I bought three mini charm packs or I would have been short for the second pillow.  I had also bought fat quarters of the Nocturne line and used two of those for the backs.


I quilted the front of the pillows with simple CC’s and didn’t quilt the back.


You can never have too many quilted pillows!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Plaster Paint


This past week I have taken on the task of painting my kitchen table and chair set.  I inherited this set when my mom sold the family cottage and it has worked well in our home but it was time for an update.  I’m trying to reduce the amount of oak tones in my house and changing over to darker browns and beiges.    My friend Wendy sells Plaster Paint at her quilt shop in Swan River, MB so I bought a container of Espresso for the top and two cans of Sweet Cream for the legs and chairs.  I used two coats of liquid wax to create the shine.  The best part about this job was you don’t have to sand down the furniture before painting, just give it all a good wash! And with all the spindles on my chairs that made the job so much easier.


Here is the before and after!  Love the after!


I have also been ice dyeing again!  I tried some new colour combinations.


This was Slate Blue and Orange!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Quilt of Valour


Our guild has been making Quilts of Valour quilts recently and they hired me to quilt them.  I thought I could easily work on these over the summer when I had all this free time ( haha) and realized that the summer is more than half over so I better get quilting!    They used the Mahjongg pattern,  fabrics from the Northcott “Oh Canada” collection and pieced 4 tops.  This is the first one, the rest are similar and just have a different border fabric.


They included the Hobbs 80/20 batting and I used beige So Fine thread.  I chose Fascination  for the panto as it is a light density design and I want to keep the cost down for the guild.  When I quilt for my guild I give them a 25% discount as I have been a member of this group since it was founded in 1998.  I also do chose to quilt some of their comfort quilts for free but that is of my choosing and am very lucky that they never expect me to quilt for free. I have heard some horror stories from other longarm quilters and their experience with some guilds,  I’ll just say that I am very luck to be part of such a wonderful group of ladies and truly feel appreciated!  Here is a link to our local guild’s blog, which I also write.  We share our show and tell pictures on the blog as well as what we do for programs.  So if you need ideas for your group just take a look back through our archives. 


One down and three more to go!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Our Videos from Churchill - I Lied!

Thought I would share these short videos I took on my camera that my son edited for me.  Remember I was on a boat going up and down so I hope they don't make you queasy.   I would recommend you click the full screen button on the bottom right of the each video (it shows up after you pressing play.) 

Here is the Snowy Owl being swooped at by the Arctic Terns.

Here is the best video of the Beluga Whales swimming by the boat.  We were laughing at the end as we saw one bird catch a fish and a second bird steal it from him.

And here is some clips that Tim took trying to get some underwater footage of the whales.  The boat kept rocking and he hand would come out of the water.  But you can see how close the belugas swim together and how they turn upside down to look at you!  At the last 20 seconds you can hear them!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Churchill–Last Entry I Promise!


For our last day in Churchill we walked the town, visited the shops and museums.   There is one beach right beside the town complex and we enjoyed walking around there keeping an eye out for bears.  The town does have a bear patrol which you see driving around often so that gives you peace of mind.  But there are many areas they recommend you do not walk…basically anywhere that is not town!   They can easily hide in the outcrops and you don’t want to accidently walk right into one.  We heard at the airport that they had a polar bear wandering around there that day!


This is as far as we walked as you can see how easy it would be for a bear to hid in there.


The tide was out so we were having fun finding ‘cool’ rocks….yes rocks are cool!  I brought one home to put in my rock garden.


Had to dip my feet in the Arctic Ocean to say I did it!


Thank you Tim for taking me on this wonderful adventure. It was our first trip together without the boys so I was teasing him that I finally got my honeymoon!


If your interested I did take some video of the bears, owl, whales and underwater whales and have uploaded to my YouTube channel here.

Didn’t need the toque the last day, it was 10’c and the sun came out in the afternoon.


I picked up some genuine Inuit Soapstone carvings from the Museum gallery.  I felling in love with the Dancing Bear and the diving Beluga.


Thanks for putting up with my Churchill posts.  I haven’t been doing any quilting and my next project is to Plaster Paint my kitchen table and chairs so I might be another couple of weeks before I post anything quilty!   But I did hear the Northern lights have been active this week,  so I’m hoping all this rain will stop so I can get a few pictures!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Journey to Churchill–Beluga Whales!

Finally!  Here they are the Beluga Whales!    They travel in pods of 6 to 20 on average and they don’t stay in the same pod, they mingle and go from pod to pod as they are very social. There are in total about 800 to 1000 in the Churchill River this time of year.   They are so graceful to watch and very curious to see us too!   As you can see in the top photo the rain finally moved off and we had clearer skies for the rest of the boat tour.

Here is a mom with a young grey calf.  The calves lose their grey colour by age 7.

I was very curious about this boat and the guide told us it was from a website called explore.org.   They have a live camera underwater  and above where you can watch and listen to the whales. Here is a link.

Here is a shot with the Port of Churchill in the background.  Very sad to hear it was closed this season and many laid off.  Politics at it finest!  Just hope to hear it is up and running next summer.

When the whales breach the water to breath they rarely show their tail so I was happy to get a few pictures of that.

Now they are coming right up to our boat!

Then they start to swim under the boat. It is very cool to watch them turn upside down as they go under as they want to watch us too!

Our guide was having fun talking/calling to them and they really responded to the sounds she was making.  Tim was taking underwater video as they went under the boat, he was just able to reach over the side of the boat and get our camera in the water but as soon as the boat swayed to the other side his hand came out of the water. So the video is very choppy but you get the idea of how they turn upside down and how close they swim together.  I can’t seem to add the video to this post so I’ll add a separate one next with all our videos.

Later that day Tim and I signed up for a kayaking adventure with the whales.  It started out with no rain and within 10 minutes of our paddle it started to pour!  And it poured all evening and the rest of the night.  But the rain didn’t bother us, as a friend said we are geos and have both worked in worse conditions! So true!

Now here is a piece of vital information if you go kayaking with whales…don’t pick the yellow kayak!  They were very drawn to orange kayaks.  Tim and the one other person in our group both had an orange kayak and I would watch the whales follow them!  I still had an amazing time it was just an observation I made.

And here comes the rain!  I had one whale breach right beside me and created quite the wave. Good thing I have kayaking experience or that would have created more than just an adrenaline rush!

Our guide finally called us in after an hour and 20 minutes as the lightening and thunder were concerning him!    I hardly noticed!  He said most tourist would not have stayed out in those conditions so he was very impressed.  I guess us Northern Manitobans are a hardy bunch! Smile
So that was the beluga adventure part of my trip!  I would love to go back and kayak on a clear day and really get some time out on the Churchill River with the whales.