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Saying goodbye…

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

 

Christmas Stars - one border too small

Christmas Stars – one border too small

I left two of my oldest quilt tops with a friend last night to be delivered to the long arm quilter.  I have seen the work of the lady who will be quilting my beloved tops and I am very excited to see how she quilts these tops.  I am also very excited to have these quilts moved out of and off of the UFO pile.

I am very proud of the workmanship on both of these quilt tops.  They are very different quilts.  The Dresden Plate quilt was machine pieced and both machine and hand appliqued.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I started this back in the 90’s.  The top has been completed for a long time – I just wanted to have the right person quilt it for me.

The Christmas Stars quilt was a block of the month class taken many years ago at Log Cabin Fabrics in Selkirk, NY http://logcabinfabrics.com/.  If you are ever in the Albany, NY area and can stop in it is worth the visit.  The ladies ( Londa, Lisa and Bonnie) will take very good care of you.  The fabrics for both of these quilts were purchased many years ago at this shop.  I hand pieced most of these blocks, I added the sashing and borders using my machine.  The quilt shown in the picture is not the completed top, I added one more border using the same fabric as the sashing.

the backyard

the backyard

We had a snow day on Wednesday.  I made a wonderful Chicken Pot Pie for dinner and settled in to work on quilts that night.  The best thing about snowstorms is that it is a perfect time to work on quilts.  When the world looks white it is fun to pull out a pile of fun fabrics to brighten your day.

I also have been working on blocks for a block swap but I can’t post any pictures of those yet.   All I can say about them is that the background is white and the main fabric was supposed to make us think of summer.  When the weather is cold and snowy it is nice to think about summer, sunshine and warm air.

Now back to my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt – Celtic Solstice.  I have 40 blocks done and a gazillion more to sew.  I will post pictures of that soon.

Keep creating…

Be Kind…

Faith

The problem with UFO’s is…..

that after sitting on a shelf for more years than I want to admit to you need to finish them. I am very excited about this quilt – I started it in the 90’s – it was a block of the month class. Every month on the first Thursday we would meet to learn the newest block. I had decided to hand piece my blocks – most of them are hand pieced, a couple are done by machine.

The problem with the completion of this quilt was that the blocks were all different sizes. The completion instructions were to square them up to the average size of the blocks. Big Problem, some were 15 1/2″ some were 17 1/2″, cutting the larger ones down would have cut off the wonderful points of my stars. The other problem was that I didn’t have a ruler large enough to square them up.

So after careful contemplation I decided to add the backgound fabric to all of the blocks that were too small. I then went to the local glass repair shop and asked them to cut me a piece of plexiglass that was 17.5″ square. I used a Black Sharpie to mark the center lines. I could now use this to be sure that all of my blocks were the same size.

not a great picture but I think you get the idea

not a great picture but I think you get the idea

I had saved the extra fabric along with the blocks in a tote so that I wouldn’t have to worry about matching fabrics when I finally completed the quilt.  I put the sashing on the quilt and then thought about borders.  Last night I brought it upstairs to preview it on the bed.  Horrors – It is to small – it is long enough but not wide enough.  So back to the stash – AKA fabrics.

Christmas Stars - one border too small

Christmas Stars – one border too small

So after digging through the piles of Christmas fabrics that I have – after measuring and figuring and choosing I decided to use the same fabric as the sashing.  It was really the only fabric that looked good and that I had enough of.  I really liked the red border as the final border but now it will be a green.  I will post another picture when it is finished.

So, that is the problem with UFO’s – lesson learned.  Don’t let those quilts sit on the shelf for 20 years.  Pull them out and get working on them or give them away, or make placemats or tote bags to donate to charity.  Or discuss with other quilters what has become your road block.  There is a reason that you started the quilt all those years ago – you loved the pattern or the fabric, you wanted to take the class with your friends, you were interested in learning a new technique.  Something got in the way of the completion of the quilt – you needed a different ruler, the blocks didn’t turn out the way you wanted, you moved and the quilt doesn’t go with anything in your house.  The reasons – or excuses are endless and so is the guilt that we feel every time we stumble upon the pile on the shelf.  So finish it or re-purpose it into something useful for someone else.

All of my beds will have Christmas quilts on them this December.  I have been wanting to accomplish that for many years.

Keep Quilting….

Be Kind…

Faith

Oh baby it’s cold outside…

Big Old Oak tree

Big Old Oak tree

So I decided that I was going to write a post about warmer things. It will be mostly pictures of warmer, sunnier days. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the seasons of the year and living in the Northeast gives us the opportunity to experience them all.  So here are some warm memories.

Bonfire at the beach

Bonfire at the beach

I love the memories that we make in the summer at the beach.

Columbine

Columbine

Iris and Poppies

Iris and Poppies

I love the beautiful flowers in my garden.

wonderful memories with people we love

wonderful memories with people we love

The beach, the pool, the fourth of July!

the beach

the beach

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4th of July

4th of July

the pool

the pool

Just a reminder that the snow will melt and the winds will warm and more memories will be made.

In the mean time stay warm, bake bread, make soup and cuddle under homemade quilts.

Be Kind…

Faith

It is like a Black & White movie….

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It snowed here yesterday. There was no wind so the trees are still covered in the wet heavy snow. When I looked outside this morning it reminded me of a black and white movie. The sun is not shining brightly, everything is monochrome. There is no color. It is a very strange look for a place that usually is a riot of color.

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Even Gracie seems to lose her color. Gracie is a chocolate lab, here she looks like a black lab.

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I am a person who rarely wears earth tones, my quilts are always made with bright colors, but somehow looking out the windows it makes me want to make a black and white quilt. I will probably change my mind once the sun shines brightly again but this is where so much inspiration for quilts comes from for me. I alway say that if I could see 2 or 3 or more colors together in nature than why not put them in a quilt.

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Enjoy the day. I plan on doing some cooking, quilting, knitting and football game watching. Busy day but some how very peaceful, or pieceful depending on which activity I am working on.

Be kind….

Faith

Snowy Owls….

Snowy Owl - Biddeford Pool

Snowy Owl – Biddeford Pool

Snowy Owls have moved south.  I have seen several news reports about these birds.  They have moved south because of lack of food in the Tundra.  I guess there are more owls than there is food for them to eat.  The reports have said that most of the birds are young males.  They are causing problems at the airports from Portland, ME to Logan in Boston, they like open spaces.

I see these owls almost every day on my way to the Post Office.  I drive down a narrow strip of land that runs between a large tidal bay and the ocean.  There are houses on both sides of the road.  I see these owls sitting on the chimneys, and power poles.  Today I saw 3 of them.

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sitting on the post

sitting on the post

They sit and swivel their heads around watching.  They soar through the sky, scanning for food.  Our backyard borders a Rachael Carson protected piece of land.  I see them flying over this area, swooping and diving through the sky.  They amaze me!

They have become celebrities in these parts.  The birders are out with their cameras and huge lens taking pictures.  Everyday when I see them all out taking pictures I say that I need to grab my camera and telephoto lens and get some pictures.  Oops… I forgot again.

I live in a place where wild life is abundant.  We see all sorts of birds, song birds, seagulls of course, loads of turkeys trotting along between houses.

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We see deer all the time, there was a set of twin fawns and their Momma in the yard this fall.  We even see the occasional Moose.

moose in the yard

I live in an amazing place – the views are breath taking, the animals are abundant and fabulous and the people are friendly and helpful.  I am blessed.  I am also going to put my camera by the door so that I can get a better picture of one of these owls.

Be Kind…

Faith

UFO’s…and I don’t mean the ones from outer space…

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

Once again I have entered a UFO Challenge.  As quilters, many of us have projects that we started many years ago, with the best intentions of finishing them.  Then life gets in the way, or we lose interest, or some wonderful new pattern or fabric or class grabs our attention.  Yes, we can be a very fickle group!

When I started this project I lived in upstate NY in the Helderberg mountains, in this big beautiful Victorian home.

First house - Westerlo, NY 1986

First house – Westerlo, NY 1986

The majority of the colors in the house were burgundy and green – my husbands favorite colors.  They were rich, beautiful colors that reflected the colors of the time that the house was built.  We spent 13 wonderful years living in this home.  But I digress.

The pattern for this quilt was published in American Patchwork & Quilting in April 1996.  I fell in love with it and decided to make it.  The pieces are machine pieced and machine appliqued.  The colors were perfect for the wallpaper and carpet in our bedroom at the time.  Needless to say I have lived in 3 different houses since then and the colors do not go in my bedroom any longer.  BUT… they are Victorian Christmas colors.  So I will use this as a Christmas quilt after it is completed.

one corner

one corner

I need to piece the backing and it will be dropped off at the longarm quilter in early February.  I will be dropping off 2 quilts at that point.  The second quilt is made up of hand pieced stars.  It is a sampler quilt so each block is different.  I need to finish up the borders on that one and then I will show you a picture of it.

These are 2 of the 6 quilts on my UFO list.  The prospect of getting these 2 quilts done is very exciting for me.  There is a wonderful feeling when a project that you have been working on for many years is almost done.

So quilters, knitters, crafters – go check out your stash and pull out those UFO’s and get to work.  Get them done  – you will be so happy that you have completed them.  Pat your self on the back and go start another project.

Keep creating…

Be Kind…

Faith

Celtic Christmas part 4….

 

a gift from Charlotte

a gift from Charlotte

The rush is over – the packages are opened, the wrapping paper is picked up, the Christmas brunch and dinner have been eaten and the leftovers have been nibbled on.  We are very blessed!  We had a wonderful Christmas, we laughed with and at each other, we opened wonderful presents from each other, some expected and some surprises.  I will talk about all of that on another day.

Today we will take a quick peek at the progress that I am making on my Celtic Christmas – Bonnie Hunters Celtic Solstice. http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/10/2013-mystery-time-introducing-celtic.html  Since I am using my Christmas stash I am calling it Celtic Christmas.

I have finished the first 3 steps – completely!!!  I sometimes wondered if I would ever be done with the Chevrons.  I know that many of us had the same doubts but little by little my piles of chevrons grew and finally it was done.  The pinwheels did not take me nearly as long.  I am about half way finished with Step 4.  You can see some of the other progress on Step 4 here – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-4.html

100 complete 200 to go

100 complete 200 to go

 

strips sewn together and ready to be cut

strips sewn together and ready to be cut

I will sew tonight and maybe be almost done tomorrow morning just in time for Step 5.

I am really looking forward to seeing what Step 5 will be.  I really love the process of the mystery quilt.  I imagine quilters all over the world sewing the same pieces together – struggling with the same issues and the same frustrations.  How fun is that?!?

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas –

Be Kind…

Faith

Celtic Christmas part 3…

view of backyard

view of backyard

Good snowy morning from southern Maine.  Since Saturday we have gotten 2 feet of snow.  It is a winter wonderland outside and for the first time in several years we are going to have a white Christmas.  I realize that for a huge part of the world there is no such thing as a white Christmas but having grown up in the Northeast of the U.S., I love having a white Christmas.  Some would, and have called me crazy but I still get just as excited about a snow storm now as I did when I was 5.  There is some rain predicted for the weekend which could put a huge dent in my snowshoeing plans, we will just have to wait and see.

I have been spending a ton of time sewing lately – as have many of the Bonnie Hunters fans around the world. Here is the link to the latest mystery – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html.  I have not finished Part 2 yet but I am definitely making progress.  To see everyone’s progress check this out – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/celtic-solstice-mystery-monday-link-up_4572.html

some chevrons done other parts in progress

some chevrons done other parts in progress

String piecing progress

String piecing progress

I have also started Part 3 – I have all of my bits and pieces cut.  One of my good quilty friends Georgette, sent me the short cut that was mentioned here – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/search?q=gretchen.  Unfortunately, I had already cut all of my 2″ strips so I couldn’t utilize this helpful short cut.  I cut them all using the EZ-Angle as mentioned in Bonnie’s original directions.  I did speed things up by layering 4 strips of fabric at a time, so it took me less time than I thought it would, but I still need to sew them together.

bits and pieces

bits and pieces

As you can see I have made 1 pinwheel – yes I did sew it wrong the first time, and I know that I will again.  Pinwheels always give me some trouble.

one correct pinwheel

one correct pinwheel

I think that I am being very careful only to realize that I have goofed.  Hopefully the goofs will be few and far between.  Only time will tell.

I will be sewing again tonight – one thing that Bonnie’s Mysteries do for me is get me into my sewing room.  I get so many projects finished just because I am in my sewing space.  I am also usually digging through my stash which causes me to find long, lost and forgotten projects.

view from my sunroom - icy windows

view from my sunroom – icy windows

With winter here, ahead of schedule, I am anticipating getting a lot of projects started and finished this winter.  As I have said before there is nothing better than a quilt in your lap on a cold winter night.

I am looking forward to Part 4 on Friday morning – I do not anticipate getting very much of it done before the release of Part 5 but my head will be working on it.

Have a wonderfully Merry Christmas – keep sewing and,

Be Kind….

Faith

Celtic Christmas…

first step cut and ready to sew

first step cut and ready to sew

It is that time of year again.  Christmas and a new Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  Bonnie Hunter – one of my favorite quilt designers has a mystery quilt every year.  It starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends some time in January, she posts new steps every week and we sew like mad to get the quilt steps done.  This year Bonnie’s quilt is called Celtic Solstice – here is the link up.

http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/celtic-solstice-mystery-monday-link-up-1.html

Her colors are very bright and while I am sure that her quilt will be amazing the colors just didn’t work for me.

work in progress

work in progress

So, after careful thought and a little bit of sleeplessness I came up with a solution.  I am making the quilt out of my stash of Christmas fabric.  I have been buying Christmas fabric for 30 years so I have lots of choices and fabric.  The salvage on one of the fabrics said 1991.  Yup, lots of old fabric.  By using it up it will free me to buy more with no guilt!

chain sewing

chain sewing

Bonnie has given 2 sizes for this quilt – a twin/double bed size and a king size.  I have opted for the King size – that way when I am done I will have a wonderful large quilt for our bed.  I will use it every year for the month of December.

completed units

completed units

I am not yet done with the first step but I will finish it today.  I am more than half way finished and that gives me the incentive to keep my little Featherweight chugging along.  I am very happy to be using up all of this old fabric – the goal is to refrain from buying any new fabric for this quilt.  I have never done that before – and I may not be able to do it with this quilt either.  I may need to buy some fabric for the back but hopefully I can be resourceful enough to make due with what I have.

A little Christmas thought – from The Little Book of Christmas Joys – 

#248. Read “The Gift of The Magi” by O’Henry  It always brings tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

Be Kind…

Faith

I love the month of September…

The month of September is very busy – but all in a good way.

The Big Day

Chuck and I celebrate our anniversary in September.  We have been married 28 years.  I must say that marrying Chuck was one of the most wonderful things that I ever did in life.  We are very happy and still really love each other and enjoy each other’s company.  We have many similar interests not the least of which is spending time with family and friends.

Chuck’s oldest daughter Michele and her husband Joe came up this month to visit.  We had a wonderful weekend.  The weather was perfect the company was superb and we had a lot of fun.  We did some Maine tourist things.

We went for a cruise on the Schooner Eleanor – the Schooner’s Captain built the boat himself.   It is a beautiful boat.  This is the website if you would like to visit – http://schoonereleanor.woodmanboats.com/.  We went out at 4:00 in the afternoon – it was breezy but not cold – in fact I think it was the perfect late afternoon.  The sun was shining brightly and it was a totally relaxing trip.  I found it amazing to watch the Captain navigate.  He watched the surface of the water to determine the direction of the wind.  He had 2 young women acting as his crew.  I always felt that they had complete control while we sailed over the ocean.

Chuck & Joe

Chuck & Joe

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Michele and me.

Michele and me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schooner Eleanor

Schooner Eleanor

 

It was a beautiful fall day that we thoroughly enjoyed.  We also decided that we needed to do this again, next time with the whole family together, and maybe some beverages and snacks.

After our cruise we had dinner at the Arundel Wharf (which is where the Schooner Eleanor is docked).  We all had worked up an appetite while out on the water.  We had a great meal and all indulged in dessert.  The perfect ending to a wonderful day.

On Sunday we got up had a wonderful (in my opinion but I did cook it so…) breakfast – Bacon, eggs, homefries and toast, then we headed up to Freeport.  At trip to Maine is not complete with out a trip to LL Bean and the surrounding stores.  We had a successful shopping outing to say the least.

Lunch was a visit to one of our favorite local restaurants – Buffleheads, located on Hills Beach Road.  While there we happened to see a very large English Mastiff waiting in the car for her mom & dad.  Her name is Maggie and she was a rescue – the poor darling spent the first 2 years of her life in a crate.  She is now well loved by a couple who travel all over the country in an RV with her.

Maggie is camera shy

Maggie is camera shy

 

Joe and Michele brought home a couple of Lobster Rolls for the road.  They got packed up and went back to reality after a wonderfully relaxing weekend in Maine.

We had several other adventures during the past month, and I will tell you about those on another day.

Enjoy the Fall – one of the best times of year in my humble opinion.

Be Kind…

Faith