Monday, 12 September 2016

Inspiration...Or A Lack Thereof

Back in the Spring my guild set forth a challenge, a paint chip challenge to be exact. Willing participants drew 3 random paint chips from a brown paper bag and agreed to make a quilt using only the colours drawn along with black and/or white.

To say the least, my colours did nothing to excite me. They did however give me an excuse to do a little fabric shopping. My first stab at the colours was done by memory because I had forgotten the paint chips the day I went to the fabric store. My minds eye served me well: I nailed the yellow with Kona Cheddar and played it safe by taking home two blues and two pinks. Remember this picture? These Konas have been kicking around in my stash for quite a while.

I thought of building colourful little row houses. I pondered making a pig setting sail in a yellow dory. I toyed with a block of cheese. I contemplated free pieced fishes, free pieced letters and even a funky free pieced springy thing. But nothing struck me. I bought piece after piece of fabric in these colours. I lugged home more blue chunks of fabric than I'll ever use. But still, nothing set my brain on fire.

That is until I realized that "it" was in my hand the whole time. The piece of notebook paper I had carted around for all those months was exactly what I needed to make. A big piece of white Kona, a strip of each of the matching Konas and some pink & blue thread was all it took. It happened suddenly: a lit match sets forth a fire in my brain that cannot be extinguished til the last stitch is made.

I appliqued the paint chips in the manner they were placed on the original note paper and quilted the lines to look like scribbler paper. I even used a fancy long triple stitch to make the pink line appear bolder than the blue. As the quilting took shape I became more and more giddy about this cheeky response to my uninspiring, ugly colours. I couldn't wait to finish it but the punching of holes down the left side became a bit of a stumbling block; they put a lump in my throat that was somehow tough to swallow.

It seemed to me that the cutting of holes in a finished quilt might be in direct violation of the Quilters Code of Ethics and I feared the wrath of the Quilt Police. I put a panicked call in to Linda over at Scrapmaster to ask about my guilty quilty ideas, dropped by to pick her brain and she cheered me on. Between us and some spare change we decided the holes should be somewhere between the size of a dime and a nickel and given that it was a wall hanging and not a quilt that would be washed often it didn't really matter too much about the holes fraying out.

I made a few test holes when I got home and decided that a very tiny straight stitch around the traced coin line would both define the hole and secure the fabric layers so that I could trim out the centers. I finished the inside of the holes with a bead of fray check just to stay the stray threads. I even took a scoop out of the hanging sleeve so it wouldn't show through the hole.

Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished.

The response I received from the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild gals at reveal night last week was great! So. Much. Laughter. There is a Viewers Choice online vote happening on the MMQG blog if you care to take a gander at all the paint chip challenge creations...who knows, maybe you'll take the time to vote for your favourite...wink, wink...there are some great sets of Aurifil thread up for prizes and I sure would love to win some of it!

Thursday, 1 September 2016


How can this be?

Where did all my summer go?

Not-So-Little PurpleBoots cannot possibly be turning 15 tomorrow!?!


Time surely flies. So cliche to say it,  but it is oh-so true. And, catching up is oh-so hard to do. Let me at least try to get ya'll up to speed with some pictures....

We had a little (big) quilt show in July. Myself and 3 of my quilty peeps organized and pulled off what was the first of its kind around here and it was awesome, if I do say so myself! The 2 day show exceeded my every expectation: it was well attended, we awed the folks who came out to see this huge body of work, we sold lots of stuff, and we're able to donate about 1100$ to the church!

We took a family trip to Newfoundland...spent a lot of our time relaxing and exploring Fogo Island. There was a boat tour on the Ketanja out to Little Fogo, cod jigging (and then cod eating) and some fabulous hiking...we found The Great Auk on what turned out to be a race against the setting sun one evening and stood on Brimstone Head, which is known to the Flat Earth Society as one of the four corners of the earth. On the boat tour Not-So-Little PurpleBoots caught the biggest cod of the lot...a 3 footer!

I got some time in the Fatboy's saddle but mostly concentrated my vehicular fun on jeepin' with Daisy and the Nova Scotia Jeep Club. I've been picking away at getting her toughened up so she could run with the pack; though we're not finshed her transformation yet, she isn't exactly a mall crawler any more.

Turns out Not-So-Little PurpleBoots is all set & ready to wrench for me...bonus! And, I still remember  how to pitch my tent and work a naptha gas Coleman stove that hasn't been out of the garage for MANY years. 

Along with half the country we watched the last Tragically Hip concert. But we watched it Jeepers style: in the woods, projected live on the side of a Jeep with a campfire blazing and drinks in hand. I honestly can't think of a better or truer "Canadian way" to watch what has become a part of our history!  

Oh've truly been a blast! 
And you will you ever measure up? 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Not The Ducks Ass

Metastatic. Colon. Cancer.

3 little words.

So. Much. Weight.

Aside from dealing with the grief that comes from losing ones parent to such an aggressive and horrible disease one has to deal with the possibility that the disease swims in their gene pool. After my father died I talked to my family doctor about my own health and how his battle might impact my life in a physical sense...we all know how that played out in the emotional sense. She told me it would be in my best interest to start regular CT scans of the colon. 
Yay me.

The worst part is the prep work for such a scan. Ugh. The oh-so frequent potty trips were actually not quite as horrible as the medicines one needs to ingest to make those potty trips possible.
Oh. My. Dog.

(Can you hear me in my best 1980 something Valley Girl voice: "Like, gag me with a spoon, ya know?")

Some of the liquids stayed down, some didn't. Double Ugh. Have I ever told you how much of a gag reflex I have? Or how much I HATE throwing up?

To take my mind off the whole process and to help pass the day I set myself up at the dining room table (same level and closer proximity to the bathroom) with my wee Kenmore, some sewing tools, a box of Popsicles, my favourite Johnny Cash playlist and The Lunenburg Makery's Row By Row kit...a paper pieced pattern packet full of happy-making Maritime scenery.

I sliced and diced my way thru all the bits & pieces...and ended up with a lovely patchwork row, a giant mess to sweep up and a squeaky clean colon.

Anybody wanna sing Ring of Fire with me?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Ducks Ass

I've long loved using the saying, "That's the cats ass!", when something is particularly pleasing. My recent adventures with Voodoo Duck have now changed my wording ever so slightly...the addition of this button to his butt just makes me giggle. The button was part of the MMQG swag bag goodies and it needed to live somewhere. Appropriate, no?

Quilting never ranks high on my list of summertime priorities but there has been some action in my sewing corner over the last month or so. I made a couple Gallery Tunics for myself, finished up the skull quilt flimsy and whipped up a second Star Bright baby flimsy for our upcoming quilt show raffle prize. The Skull quilt is from a book by Boo Davis but I chose to alter/round out the corners of the skull & jaw and I used random width strips in the background piecing. Close inspection of the skull quilt reveals a couple carefully placed fabrics in the mouth...seemed fitting to have crowns on my teeth.  The ducks ass, right?

The biggest excitement was the smallest finish: a mini-mini that was made to swap with the MMQG peeps...super cute, I hated to part with it. A little bit of free piecing together with some applique and a wee pieced binding...also the ducks ass.

Remember when I took my mental health road trip with Daisy and tagged along with the Jeepers? I wanted so badly to go to parts unknown with them but couldn't because Daisy is a city Jeep. Well...not anymore. She's on her way to the darkside. I had her lifted and am currently working toward making the big $$ decision on new wheels and tires. I've been creeping the Facebook wall of the Nova Scotia Jeep Club for some time now and finally got brave enough to go out and meet some of them in person. (Great folks by the way!) We participated in our first Jeep run with the club on Canada Day. We crawled through mud, over rocks and crept our way through trails so tight that the branches tickled her sides and tree trunks barely passed by her mirrors without kissing. The happy trails took us back to the shoreline at the Bay of Fundy. Remember when I showed you Halls Harbour? Well, were pretty close to there. So. Much. Fun. It was the ducks ass.

Oh. And there's been big progress on that damn tee shirt quilt I was commissioned to do. My avoidance was shelved yesterday and I forced myself to get the top together. I lugged all my stuff to Adriennes over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts to spend the day stitching and bitching with her...and can you believe that I forgot to pack my Pfaffs foot pedal? Stunned-as-me-arse, I tell ya! So I commandeered her ole faithful Kenmore into service and with a little help from Voodoo Duck and Charlie Dog, I managed to come home with a completed flimsy...well, it may get a border. And though I'm not a huge tee shirt quilt fan, I must say this one guessed it...the ducks ass.

Tonight we're partying with The Stanfields right around the corner from cool is that? One of my favourite bands in my neighbour's garage! And, to make a good thing even better, I found a great new addition to the Jack lineup last week that'll be certain to make my evening full of good-duck-assery.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

And The Winner is...

DENA!!! Squee!! It's yours!

I was so excited that the lil number pickin' gadget picked a MMQG guild mate I almost christened Izzy with a mouthful of brown holy water. She wouldn't have minded, she likes coffee.

Make sure you pop in to see Cathy over at Sane, Crazy and Crumby Quilting for the next stop on the Build-A-Barn blog hop!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Barn There, Raised That...

Let's see...what else came out of my Secret Society of Barn Builders adventures?

Well, last fall I took part in a swap with my guild and made a pretty cool quilt for my lil friend Linda that was modeled after her families fish store in Prospect, Nova Scotia.  I'll share the process pictures here again but won't rehash all the details about it because I blogged about it in this blog post that tells the whole was a very special momento for my pal and she got a little misty. It was so hard not to spill the beans about the book at that time! Knowing how much she would love this made the building of it so much more exciting...sometimes the connection is the really special part of a gift like this.

In the picture above you can notice that I made the door on the left really short. Why? I have no's not like the folks of Prospect are all little people...I guess I was just not really paying attention. Linda recently consoled me after one of my seemingly frequent stunned-as-me-arse moments by saying, "Don't worry, at least you're cute!" When I noticed my mistake, I just added on a chunk to the bottom and made it bigger. That's the beauty of free piecing! Add more on, take some what makes your heart sing!

This building is just a bit fancier than the 2 that went to Julie for the gallery...this one has more dimension as it's not viewed straight on. For Ale was only marginally more challenging to build...I just had to consider the angles of the left side so that the perspective would be right. I am still loving the fabric choices with the bird laden sky and the fish infused water under the wonky wharf stays (that's local wharf rat speak for poles). Here in our oceanside villages the gulls are a dime a dozen, they are ever-present. The fish? Not so much...but it is still pretty commonplace to look down over the side of a wharf into the water and see some pollock swimming around.

And then at Christmastime the SSOBB decided to do a Secret Santa Swap, I got paired up with Julie. I'm so over-the-top busy in December with hairdoos that she graciously agreed to do our little exchange after the holidays. So right after, I got to work building her something special.

My regular readers by now have a pretty good idea that I am typically unimpressed with the amount of snow fall we've had the past few years; I have come to call this fair province Snova Scotia and am admittedly jealous of Julies less than frigid, open winters in Tennessee. So, I just knew I had to send her some snow...

I did a little scrounge through my stash, because at that time The Stashpocalypse had come upon me and I wasn't fabric shopping. I found lots of treasures and potential bits and pieces kicking around to put into play. With these in hand and a rough sketch on the table I was off!

See that little angled empty area under the door? It was a big gap left in my free picing fury. When I stepped back to take a break I decided I didn't really want to cut off the bottom of the building so I very carefully set in the ramp piece...measure twice (don't forget to account for your seam allowances), cut once! Those Y-seams are sometimes tricky but if you're careful you can put them in lickety-split.

In another of my stunned-as-me-arse moments I penned the date on the label 2015. I suppose the whole swap started then so that's why my "cute" lil brain defaulted to 2015...but I made this thing start to finish in 2016 and by the time I noticed my blunder I couldn't exactly scratch it out. (*Sigh... Sorry Julie.) Maybe one day I'll be not-quite-so-cute...but what then? Just stunned? Dog help me.

Free pieced barns and letters...what could be better?

I thought she'd be able to use it with her seasonal decorations on a table somewhere, but she liked it enough to hang it in the cozy spot where she does her writing.

How about you? Have we inspired you to attempt building a barn of your very own yet? Let me know with a comment below about a barn that might have tickled your fancy enough to give this barn building gig a go and I'll enter your name in a random draw to win a signed copy of the book so you can get started!

Leave a comment before the morning of June 19th to be included...I'll draw for it while I'm partaking in my weekly, bleary eyed Sunday morning ritual of brown holy water, a lap full of springy things and Johnny Cash on the airwaves.