Completed ‘Oh Canada’

I promised in my last post that I would share pictures of the completed Oh Canada quilt.

This quilt has a sordid past you could say.  The fabric and pattern were procured before Christmas 2014.  I had these overly ambitious plans of having it done not long after that Christmas as a belated Christmas present.
Little did I know that it would take me many hours of cutting with special rulers, piecing, pressing, trimming all blocks with special rulers, and more piecing and pressing.  It probably took me approximately 5 months to finish piecing. I was super happy with the finished top.  The points were so much more precise because of all the special trimming. 

All I had left to do was quilt it.  I had purchased some particular fabric for the back.  My calculations were incorrect, and guess what?  I didn’t have enough fabric for the backing. So I had to order more.

By this point it was probably May. (I had finished piecing in April). So I took the quilt to work to try and pin after work using the boardroom tables.  I didn’t have a big enough batting piece with me. So, I then grabbed a bag of batting and took this and the quilt and backing (now large enough) to my parents to use their large living room floor to lay out the quilt to sandwich and pin.  I laid everything out.  That bag of batting had been cut into. That piece wasn’t large enough either. So, I had to steal some from my mom’s large bolt of batting (affectionately known as Bert) to get a large enough piece.  I finally successfully had the quilt ready for quilting!  

This quilt was taken to a quilting retreat in Colorado as I was working through all the quilting.  I used Mctavishing in all of the white space, I did some funky fillers in some other species, I outlined many other areas, and did some quilt writing both with a straight stitch and a zigzag to write the words to the Canadian national anthem, as well as lots of other Canadian things.  

Binding…. I used some fabulous stripe cut on the bias.  I love this look. And so, hand sewing and then topstitching the binding with machine, it was completed. I then packaged it all up ready to be shipped.  I realized I had yet to put a label on it. The quilt wasn’t quite ready for its journey.  So, I unpacked the parcel, made a label, took a few pictures, repackaged, and it’s on it’s way.  

Every quilt has a story.  This one has earned its story.  :-). 

So, now a question – anyone interested inlearning quilt writing – one of my friends, Cyndi Souder, Moonlighting Quilts, teaches a great class.  I am also willing to teach a couple of techniques here in Edmonton.  Anyone interested?  

Hope you enjoy the pictures!  Happy quilting!   





Made it through Blue Monday

A new year, a fresh perspective, a looking forward to what’s ahead.

I did a bit of reflection at the end of 2015.  I also looked at what I want my life to look like in 2016.  Good things ahead.  Always some challenges too, as my car is deciding to start needing more care.  My bathroom faucet is leaking a bit.  My oven element is going to go (has that bright spot on it… I’m just waiting for that to happen).  Just a few minor things that we all have to deal with at one point or another.

I am choosing to enjoy the challenges of those little things I am having to deal with (like cleaning up water from trying to fix the faucet).

I can say that I finally finished a belated Christmas/Birthday gift for a dear friend of mine.  I’ll post some more pictures, but I have a few process pictures that I will share below.  I’ll try to take more pictures before I get it mailed off (I just remembered this morning that I had it all packed up and ready to mail, and I forgot to put a label on it.

This quilt “Oh Canada” has definitely been a labour of love.  The recipient is a very dear friend (sister from another mother) who shares my love of quilting.  She saw me working on it when we met at a quilt retreat in Colorado in August.  She has heard some of the stories, and I teased her with pictures along the way.  I was really happy with the binding (I  will share a picture of that next time) and overall, my quilting.  I didn’t count the hours.  The precision of the pattern (it was a Deb Tucker “Northern Neighbours” pattern) was worth the time spent.  I really was happy in how 95% of my points were nice and share.  The human element is present, so I cannot say it was 100%.  But, the effect and result was worth it.  I’ll take a few more pictures, and give you some more info next time.

And, to start the year off, I redid some of the words from my last posting of my poem.

Sleepy Sheep

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, yawning at their plight
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, wanting rest tonight
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

May your 2016 be filled with adventure, wonder, laughter, joy, tears and balance.

Details from my quilting – the lyrics to “Oh Canada”
Overall view of the quilt top
Some detail of quilt top

One Sheep…

Good morning.

You know when you start having that problem of waking up too early, and not getting back to sleep?

There are a ton of things I need to get incorporated back into my life – one – doing more yoga.  The last time I went – I felt like a train wreck.  I couldn’t hold my balance, and even though it hasn’t been that long since I had last been there, I couldn’t handle the heat too well, and kept having problems with dizziness.

To me, that means that I really don’t have great balance in my life. I  have learned to read those signals.  I am having a number of those other signals right now, so I am trying to figure out how to “rebalance” things.

I mentioned above that my sleep is being affected.  Been trying several different techniques, and nothing is working well at getting back to sleep.  I thought, “ok, I should try counting sheep”.  Ha ha.  I ended up writing a poem in my head about sheep….  maybe that will help.

So, I thought I would share it with you, as a light hearted attempt at sleep.

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, running to keep up
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, chilling and saying “wassup”.
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

So, I can imagine this being illustrated as a children’s book – anyone want in?

Hope everyone got a restful sleep.  Please send any hints to me at how I can try to mitigate this “3 AM” internal clock wakeup call.


Long weekend reflections……

So thankful for a long weekend.  Inspiration and reminders are around me when I look for them for the things I want to accomplish this weekend.  I can find some amazing things and wonderful people when I look for them.

A list of what I’m grateful for can upturn a challenging day when I look for those things.  A smile comes to my face when I remind myself of the crazy things my two fur babies do when I see antics in my memory bank.

I can always find what I’m looking for, if I open my eyes to see it.  

These ponderings could in turn be compared to keeping my heart and my mind open and what I need is there is if I look for it.  

Now I am going to look for snuggling with my fur babies and savouring those moments because I’m grateful I can have them.  

Enjoy your thanksgiving. Wishing everyone a time to give thanks for even just one simple thing.  Just look for it.   


Another Day in Paradise….

I consider myself very fortunate.  I am coming to the end of an amazing 8 day trip to Maine.

The friends I came to visit with are amazing.  It was a wonderful week filled with hanging out with them at their lake house.  Every morning seeing this…
Getting out and experiencing the area.  People are wonderful here.  Down to earth, accepting you into the activities, and just overall good people.  

It had given me a better perspective of thankfulness.  The weather has been hot during my visit.  So, I can say that yes, I did see some sun.  And some dragonflies, fish, turtles, chipmunks, bald eagle, frogs, toads, woodpeckers….  And smelling the fresh air with all the trees around….  An amazing place.  I need to come back and visit against.   I didn’t, however, see the infamous moose of Maine.  Saw evidence that they were around, but were elusive.  Which isn’t a bad thing….  

No quilting for me on this trip.  I’ll try to get something posted about my trip last month to Colorado.  More good times, beautiful scenery and above all, close friends.

And most of all on this trip, I got to recharge the batteries, remember what beauty there is everywhere I have gone, and remember how grateful I am for the opportunities I have.

Thank you Jo and Stephen for a wonderful trip.  You are gracious hosts and awesome friends.  Thanks to Betsy and Hector for letting me tag along to see some beauty of Maine in a very fun way.  Thanks to my parents for looking after my two feline fur babies while I went on this adventure.  Thanks to my colleagues and friends who helped out and enabled me to get away from work and visit such a cool place.  I recommend visiting Maine to anyone who wants to see some beautiful country.  

Role Reversal

I took a yoga class on Saturday morning.  I finally made a conscious effort toattend.  I haven’t been for awhile (but who’s counting) and I knew I had to go again.

I discovered that I was the one asking for forgiveness from the other participants in the room.  I was the one who couldn’t hold my balance for long.  I was the one who the instructor repeatedly came over to help  with poses.   I needed that assistance, and it was provided.  I needed to know that it was okay that my practice was off.  I needed that time on the mat.

The week’s activities and stresses were carried into the hot room with me.  Letting them go involved a few tears creeping out as well as falling out of poses, and every pose being painful in some way.  I need to participate in this activity more often.  I need to find a way to release stress.

Then I remind myself of a recent trip to Jasper.  It was cathartic.  It was needed in so many ways just like the yoga class was, and I will keep putting these kinds of balancing activities into my world.

day trip to Jasper on Canada Day
day trip to Jasper on Canada Day


My journey continues……

I just enjoyed an awesome extra long weekend in May (this tells you how long ago I started this post), due to summer hours at work coupled with the Victoria Day Weekend.  I had grandiose plans (lol, not just any old plans, but larger than life plans) that I had hoped to achieve.  Now, granted, I don’t get too upset with myself when my plans go awry, or when I myself send the plans out to enjoy the sun.  But, I do like to have an idea of what I would like to do on a weekend.  I definitely welcome diversions, and create enough of those myself…

Part of what I do to myself, and I think many of you share this activity, is along with my grandiose plans for the weekend, are my plans for completing projects.  I am a great starter.  I love starting new projects.  I love the excitement of choosing new fabrics, I love the anticipation and trepidation of starting a new pattern.  I love that energy.  Finishing….  well – that’s something that I definitely do.  But, maybe not nearly enough.

I am fortunate to belong to a group of quilters, a “bee” per say,  in Northern Virginia who thankfully haven’t kicked me out of their group yet.  They are all dear friends, amazing inspiration, support in all ways in my life and hopefully I in theirs, and will be friends for years to come.  We have done several block exchanges through the years.  I finally took three of those exchanges this past Christmas, and laid them out on my parent’s living room floor (my design wall is not big enough), and got them ready to set together.  I have had at least one of those since 2007.  Crazy – right?  And, when I brought all of the blocks out, and played with them, and looked at each of the fabrics, and recalled who had made which block – it brought all of those wonderful memories back when our bee group would be assembling them at our bee gatherings, at retreats, or showing each other the luscious fabrics before gathering the courage to slice into those fabrics, to share with each other.

What prompted me to actually dig into my archives and actually try to get some projects closer to completion?  Not really sure.  Was it the rearrangement of my stash this past fall, and trying to organize my studio?

Block exchange for a pattern from “Transparency Quilts” by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle.

All I can say for sure is that resurrecting a project that has been “simmering” for this long is actually quite a journey for me.  It helps me recall the journey that the blocks have made (and now, the thousands of miles those blocks have travelled as well).  It makes me smile and sigh when I see the wonderful collection of fabrics and of my friends work that I now treasure as a part of these wonderful quilts.

This was the first block exchange I participated in with this bee.
This was the first block exchange I participated in with this bee.
Purple and Green Batiks – Blue Underground Pattern – “Modern Thinking” block exchange.