Saturday, March 30, 2013

R Is For Rabbit

I needed to get a pillow done from the leftover curtain/roman shade fabric & wanted some fun with it, so...

I used the 'R' from U is for Unicorn, a pattern that my girlfriend Cynthia gave me to do for Nicholas. She made that beautiful quilt in my early days of quilting & it took my breathe away. She had appliqued her quilt & I plan on machine quilting mine, so I thought I would give it a try with this block. I also wanted to see how it would work for Nick's Spirit quilt that is still in the making.

I had a lot of fun playing with this pattern the other day. I used wool for the flowers, stems, & rabbits & the left over, black dining room chair upholstery for the 'R'. I'm going to look for the same type of upholstery fabric in a gold for Nick's quilt.


Back to the 'R is for rabbit'
Years ago when the kids were small I use to make a rabbit cake at Easter for them. This Easter I thought I would let the kids relive this Easter rabbit treat & let the grandkids see what we use to have as dessert on Easter Day. Mitchell I would send you some too if I knew how to get it to Calgary in one piece!

Here's how it's done!
A cake mix is used for the ease of time or a recipe that will give you 2 - 8``round pans
 Bake & cool on a wire rack
 This one will be the rabbits face...
 And this one you will cut as shown,the outer cuts will make the ears & bow-tie is left in the center. Try to get the outer ears even as possible, you can see that I did not & my bow-tie is a little lop sided.
 Then move your cake pieces onto a piece of cardboard covered in foil, see the rabbit now!

 I used Betty Crocker`s frosting too! So spreadable over the cake. Save just a little in a small dish & a just a drop of red food colouring to make the pink for the ears. After the whole cake has been iced with the white or chocolate - just thought about that now! I used white because I like the French Vanilla flavour but you can have whatever flavour you want.
To decorate just use some Smarties & shoestring licorice and now have a rabbit!

Alice if my conversation with you did not cheer you up...I hope the visual this colourful sugary treat will!

I`m just glad that the kids will be eating this at the end of their meal & are in the car going home when the sugar kicks in. :-)

Wishing everyone a Safe & Happy Easter!

More Thimbleberry Months

Nearly 1/3 way through the year now!

 Here are the June block it measures 6"when  finished. One block is embroidered - one is not.
 Not embroidered, see how easy it was to follow the lines. After awhile I had to feel if I had stitched on the line or not!
 This is the May block, I'm going to be slowing down to get caught up in the embroidery of these squares.
 May & June are next to be embroidered, whenever I'm in the sit-stay mode.
 April is now done, how sweet is this rabbit & chick. :-)
 Each months block has different fabrics...
And different designs around the block.
Well that is it for now for the blocks. Next week I'll start into that project again!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thimbleberries BOM 2005-2006

Better late than never...
I've started on the Thimbleberries Vintage Quilt, which I purchased on sale in 2007. I've been doing the embroidery on them for what seems like years! and I'm still not done all the squares.
The embroidery was not called for but I know how tactile quilters are & their eyes & hands would take a closer look at the center squares. I saw it as an advantage to enhance the center square that would become much more intense with black perle cotton.
Here's what's been done so far...

 December was half done, now both are done, waiting for the other months to be completed.
 I find the center has more clarity in the outline stitch in black.

 My son, Nick's cat Bose, she's the largest female cat I've ever seen. Everyone thinks she's a male but she knows at the age of 16, well, she's Queen Bose & Boris knows it too!

 January block completed,  I just love this center. It was a lot like the 'Over the River' with the tree in it.
Close-up of the center square.
 February block completed, this had to be the easiest constructed block so far!
 Close-up of the center square.

 March, finally I've caught up with the month!
I really liked the shamrock fabric that came with this block, the background was plum.
Well that makes 4/8 out of the 12/24 months, each month being done twice. The pattern wanted you to place the extra blocks on the back...I'm making another quilt to hang from the new upstairs railing at the cottage. If I'm doing all this work I want it to be viewed from the top of the quilt!

 Bose on 'her wingback chair' having her tartar treats that I give her everyday.
 This is Drake, the Bearded Dragon. He's back from Bill's apartment because Bill's never there because of work & when he has free time he is here with me. He's been Nick's pet since Drake was a wee reptile in 2005.
I peeled a few strawberries for Drake today & put them in his romaine lettuce, he's not to fussy over the apples I gave him the other day. I think he's holding out for the silkworms & crickets to come in to Petsmart this week.


 In a recent discussion with Bill & my UFO's he said if I stayed focused more would get done! And did I really need to start a tea cosy?
Yes I did! Most of the woman at my church's Craft Guild were knitting & I've not knitted in a while. I love a good hot cup of tea & a tea cosy would give me that 2nd cup, good & hot.

I made this same pattern in 1976 in orange & white to co-ordinate with my sheer curtains with the ruffled trimmed orange & white gingham. Yes I have the harvest gold fridge & stove, a very vogue kitchen at the time. lol
Now I wanted the same for my newest kitchen. I started knitting the cosy in black & grey, I chose those colours to match the kitchen flooring - one thing that would not be changing in my lifetime & remembering how tea stained the white on the orange/white one. Well the black/grey colour, I didn't like the look of it with the Friendly Village I tore out all those stitches.

I started it again, this time in a dark brown & a light mint green. It did have a contrast with the colours chosen, however I didn't like it with the dishes. I tore it all out again.

Going into my Briggs & Little stash I found a khaki green & with the dark brown it enhanced the dishes & will not show the tea stains. Voila! I just have the other side to do now. I like to have something in my hands at night...other than food!

I know Bill's right, I'm going to try to stay more focused & productive this spring/summer & work on UFO's & not take on too many 'new projects'. Oh but the flesh is weak! And the ideas that are swarming around in my head & need to come out to be visualized.


I've been working on Nick's Spirit hanging too. I'm going to buttonhole stitch down as much as I can so he can have it many years to come. It is heat & bond but I don't know how that will stay on years from now & they recommend that you straight stitch around it. I'm going to treat it like an appliqued piece & buttonhole stitch in the same colour.

Sew much to little time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pleasant Surprise

Last July, I accompanied my husband Bill to Vienna & then to the Czech Republic to a village called Uherske Hradiste in the Slovako Region. That was the location of the factory that Bill was visiting  & welcomed me in on the last day.
I met a friendly, helpful female secretary from the factory that Bill was working with. And with Bill's recent visit, she presented him with a gift for me.
My grandfather Mitro's  family was from that area, grandpa died & was buried in 1942 at the age of 42, in Ottawa Ontario. I never had the opportunity to meet him but staying in that somehow made me feel connected to him. These thoughtful gifts were a very pleasant surprise!

 The gift of a hand painted vase and wee ceramic hand painted ceramic tassel, both are painted in the flower styling & colour from that region. I love the colours!
With many Budapest Hungarian ceramics & linens from Bill's Hungarian relatives, these pieces are right at home. What a wonderful surprise! Thank you my Czech Republic friend! :-) Your thoughtfulness is much appreciated.

Roman Sades Finished!

This weekend was a busy one finishing the Roman Shades for the lounge. I had purchased an extra curtain panel to just that! The challenge came when I didn't have the length needed to cut it on the straight of grain. So with some justification that it would be stitched every six inches...and I would have enough fabric if it was cut on the cross-grain for all three panels & a small rectangular pillow, I began my project. The blinds have blackout lining to aid with the seasons harshness. And I'm very pleased with all the work for this out come!

 This is an evening photo of the roman shades closed.
 This is a all pulled up photo, ready to greet the snow this morning!
 An evening shot to show the drapes hanging with shades down. The drapes are lined with a light cotton & I'm going to inner line them with the black out. The west setting sun in the summer is so intensely hot.
A morning shot with Bill working from home on his laptop, after arriving from China last night. He's having a hard time with the cold, I keep the house at a even 64F & it was 28C in China yesterday & very humid.
This room is nearly done. I'll have about 20 roman shades to make at the cottage this year! I took advantage of the Fabricland sale this weekend & bought a spool of blind tape & a 1000ft spool of the nylon/polyester thread. The salesperson asked if I had a business & I just smiled & said  " well kind of, with a house, cottages, & rental property, it does keep me busy." I'm very pleased with the outcome of these blinds! Just a drop in the bucket for my summer days ahead with all the cottage sewing of roman shades & drapes. I love decorating though!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Very Sad Morning...

I awoke this morning to get ready for the early morning church service & just before leaving I noticed my cat Jerry stretched out on the living room rug. That cat never stretches out, he's always curled in a ball. I called out his name & then the gut wrenching feeling hit me.
Oh my... he was dead! I heard a cry out in the night but sometimes they do a howling sound at other cats that are outside around the house. I thought this cry was different but it awoke me from a sleep, then it was quiet in the house. Boris got out of bed but returned, I'm sure it was Jerry's passing.

Just last night he was with me on the couch, his paw on my arm as I was knitting & we were watching Alfred Hitchcock's horror film, The Birds.

Jerry was born July 1998 & in October 1999 had his left leg amputated after being hit by a car. The vet said it was broken in 5 places & it was best to remove it as it would be more of a hindrance to have it. The vet reassured me that he would only loose 10% of his mobility. Jerry survived that operation & years later would loss an eye to a raccoon fight. Five years ago I was told by the vet that he also had a heart murmur. With everything Jerry had endured in his life, it was a long happy one.
My heart is heavy today & St Paddy's Day will have a new memory of its own.

His brother Tommy is next to me as I'm typing, purring & touching me as the tears flow from my eyes, a very sad morning indeed.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thrill Of A Good Find!

Yesterday my girlfriend Pat & I were doing so thrift shop looking for a old chair to sit out front of my studio for my cats this spring...when I had the thrill of a find! Yes before me was a beat up bookcase but I knew I had a diamond in the ruff ---
After a good wash to remove the grime & spider nests I started priming it, then remembered to do a before & after. Here it is upside down getting primed.
 I used the kitchen as the work station. Very limited space in this 1916 house, I'm 5'2" & I duck in the basement!
 The shelf had some funky cutouts, no worries though the sides are at the wall.

 Voila! Look at this beauty! I was so pleased with this find, it looks custom made! And the closed bottom will be helpful keeping the dust out from underneath it.

It was meant to be with just one inch to spare on the height & the width. Best part ever...the shelf only cost me $4.00. I already had the primer & paint! Oh the thrill of a good find. :-) What were the odds! I still have the quest for the old chair and maybe the thrill of another find!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Wee Bit of Irish

 The 'Luck Of The Irish' flag that I made decades ago from a kit from the Hobby Lobby in Kansas City fly's proudly from the front of the house.

As Lucy stands in the snow ---
She's adorable in her tie (thanks for tying the knot for me Bill) & her shamrock hat. I was thrilled to dress her for under $4.00!

 The mailman will notice the green today too! The mailbox has been topped off with some green shamrock decorating.

 The snow is still on the lawn -- living on the north-side of the street is NOT living on the sunny side of the street! It does look nice across the road though, the green grass is starting to emerge through the snow.
So for now I'll improvise with the green decorating as we lead up to St. Patty's Day.

These are my Grandparents, Grandpa Haynes was from Liverpool England & Grandma's, Taff family came from the county of Cork, in southern Ireland. They were quite the pair & lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary before Grandpa's passing. I spent much time with these two while growing up & visiting them when I could.
St. Patty's Day for sure was when I'd go to see Grandma. I can still her her voice saying "Come on in duck, I'll put the kettle on." Gosh, even as a grown woman...I miss my Grandparents.

So for the wee bit of Irish that's in me --- Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Waiting For Spring

The winter seems to be dragging on so while I wait for spring I thought I would unsew several blazers & jackets to make them into wool pieces that I could use in some primitive projects. Taking them apart is quite the chore - you end up with as much lining, underlining, & other parts that nearly equal the amount of wool that is left! 
 The construction of a well made blazer has to be admired at this point & you know why they cost so much.

 Here goes some stock pot processing...

This soft pastel pink blazer, was one of my office blazers some 20 plus years ago & three sizes smaller. LOL - Up-cycling time!

 Once the blazers are disassembled I put into a stock pot with hot water, a bit of dish soap & linen water. I use linen water because I do not like the smell of wet wool. Once it comes to a boil I simmer for thirty minutes then remove from heat to cool down for a bit. Then it is placed inside my front loader for a rinse & spin, then to the dryer to finish the process. I have found that the frontloaders do not give enough soak time for the fibers to matte up.

 This is a Harris Tweed from Scotland, the label states that it was dyed, spun, handwoven and finished in the outer Hebrides of Scotland.  I find most of my jackets at Global,  one of my favorite thrift shops in Miramichi, New Brunswick. My girlfriends Elizabeth, Aurella & I are always excited to look for a find & the coats are my treasures to be up-cycled. The texture & colour of this Harris Tweed wool is beautiful! Quite the find!

 This was what I accomplished yesterday. The green wool jacket on the left was fondly remembered as my husbands first office jacket bought from Moores Mens Shop & was made in Canada! the dark brown Barcleys pinstripe will cut up beautifully for rug strips, the light brown tweed has specks of   colour through it & the Dolce & Gabbana made in Italy, boiled up nice & tight. Sometimes the weave is just to loose to use in rug hooking but can have another look in a wool applique.
It is a huge job to unsew these beautifully tailored jackets & it really makes you appreciate the work that went into making, no sculpturing them!

Here is the look of the Dolce & Gabbana in my Stoneware Horse. I have been looking for different colours for the side pennies on the rug. The wool cut beautifully with scissors to a quarter inch cut. The red colour ran... even with a no run sheet in the pot. I really think it was the hot water that just shocked the fibers to let go of its dye & the cream background was lost.

Now for some early spring!

Bill & I were in Sarnia at the MC Escher exhibit & on the long way home via St Thomas to for a visit to The Little Red Mitten for some black & dark grey Briggs & Little yarn for my Stoneware Horse. I ran out of yarn for the background. The wool in Miramichi was $3.50-$4.00 & here in Ontario its $6.50 a skein. But the postage charges from Canada Post would probably equal out. :-)
Well back to spring, we stopped in at a greenhouse that had just opened for the season, so I indulged in spring plants...

 This beautiful Amaryllis is in its second bloom of five flower blooms!! this is from Christmas time. The soft pink & cream is just so pretty when the light goes through it!
 Here is my springtime window...let us just ignore the snow in the backyard & take in the colour of the flowers. Too much light for a good photo...lets look closer

 Rabbits are popping up everywhere, Liz does this big  fellow look familiar. Even though it is stamped on the bottom that its for indoor & outdoor use, it makes a lovely statement inside. My 10 day bouquet after 20 plus days looks a little wilted. My husband met me at the train station on Valentines Day with this bouquet in hand for me! wow these flowers really have lasted!

I removed only the mauve flowers from a refresh from my Valentine flowers to place them on this mirrored shelf.

Rabbits & Flowers...
 My kids have given me Jim Shore figures over the years, as they know my love for quilting. This wee rabbit is ready for Easter, I just love the colours on her.

 A action shot of this appliqued beauty.

The smell from the hyacinths is heavenly & the colours of spring, our spring that is coming!
This weekend we will spring ahead in time! Yes & on the 21st spring finally arrives. Next to fall...I love spring! The colour & smell of springtime as the earth comes back to life is exciting, energy forms all around us & brings us too into this season with more sun...more smiling people. :-)