Wednesday 29 April 2015

Tomorrow Is Thursday

I'm still playing the waiting game.
As much as I hate the fact that I'm playing, I'm in the game.
She's got the ball, she wants to play it but team coaches are calling the shots.
So I wait.

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the 6th week. Today 5 weeks will have passed by nights end; exactly 4 more weeks more than I bargained for. I'm told tomorrow is the day, but pardon me if my hopes don't rise to the occasion.

Maybe. Maybe the stars will align and UPS drivers everywhere in their brown shorts will hold their tongues just right and the universe will allow a certain someone to make a phone call that will not devastate me...again.

If I were holding my breath I'd almost certainly be blue. Well, I am already blue to certain extent for that matter... but anyway, you know what I mean.

I wonder if the zebras have anything to do with this?

Sunday 26 April 2015

It's Not Thursday

I know it's not Thursday.
But I'm "throwing back" anyway.

Nothing new to chat about really...
Still waiting for my robot to arrive, the frame is clearly walking here from Utah. Had a hairy week in the shoppe so didn't get in much stitching but... I did get my taxes done and filed with a little prodding from The Enabler. Hung out with my guild mates yesterday for the April Sew In where I may or may not have jumped ahead of the Quilt-A-Long with the Gravity project...nothing to see here, nope.

So a throw back...yes ma'am.

Jen over at A Quarter Inch From The Edge inspired me the other day to share some of my older pre-blog projects. Given that I have only blogged now for 4 months that leaves a lot of great projects to write about and makes chosing one a bit difficult. My all time favourite is my Purple Cow so I guess I should start there.

A sketch seemed as good a place to start as any.

I have loved cows all my life. I got my first cow in the late 70's when I was 3 or 4 years old and although it sported wheels and a Fisher-Price stamp I loved and cared for it like it was the real deal. The Purple Cow quilt was inspired by my mother who used to recite the poem to me when I was a little girl, because her grandfather used to read it to her.

This is where I learned the hard way that two mediums = mush.
The yellow should have been stronger, the message in the sky is
lost and often missed by the viewer. Contrast matters. A Lot.

The poem is a real oldie. Written in 1895 by Gelette Burgess, it goes like this:

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one. 
But I can tell you anyhow, 
I'd rather see than be one.

Off to a good start!

This was a free pieced adventure; no pattern, no plan, no rules. After a month of collecting bits and pieces of various small purple prints I started my building with her head, first the eyes and then her face. I used some scraps of satin and some blingy taffeta around her eyes...cause she's a fancy girl...and every bovine beauty should have velvet kissy lips too! Ears came next. Then a body, a neck, some udders that ended up in the garbage.

Her tail (that was a small feat of engineering!) and legs we're up next. I scratched my head a long time trying to figure out how to get this gal up and standing; so long in fact that she spent an entire summer laying legless in her pasture. But determination trumped avoidance and 4 legs eventually materialized. I had briefly imagined this gal standing in purple pumps or boots but totally chickened out after attempting a free pieced purple stiletto that quickly joined those udders in the trash can. 

When it came time to piece in all the background chunks to fit the wonky, free pieced body parts things got pretty interesting. Given that this was only my second ever attempt at free piecing and I was learning as I went it took a lot of time. Figuring it out as I went along meant some of the seam lines were tricky and some ended up better than others, but as long as the flimsy stayed flat and the piecing, how ever wonky, had integrity enough to withstand use and washing of a "real quilt" I was happy. I wanted this quilt to be able to be used and loved...this was never to be an art quilt or a pretty hanging. 

To make her into a bed size blanket I stacked up some fat quarters and sliced up some crazy flowers. A strip down either side and a mitered border finished it up around 85" inches square.

Hanging upside down after her first turn on the frame.

I quilted it in free motion on the Wee Wiggler; a challenge in itself. I wanted the borders quilted directional so I had to turn the quilt 3 times on the frame to achieve this. The quilting on the cow itself was SEW much fun. I did all her little bits differently...I felt like I was tattooing her!

I love purple. Purple is the colour of grooviness!
And if I do say so myself this is one groovy cow!

(Oh, and in case you wondered...I still have that Fisher-Price cow. In fact, I gave it to my son when he was about that same age...and, like his momma, he loved her too! More, he received his first plush purple cow when he was born as a gift from my sister, Judy, who found it in Vancouver.)

Wednesday 22 April 2015

On The Horizon

I am still in avoidance mode...paperwork is nothing to be rushed into people! I still have 8 days to putter toward a tax return.  So, because I've got nothing but time, I sliced and diced my way thru the first 12 of the 114 Konas in the Gravity Quilt this afternoon. Block 1, called Horizon, was made up of 16  3.5" diamonds cut with the Super Sidekick ruler. I stacked up my fabrics to speed up the cutting process, cutting several diamonds at a time...only paperwork runs at idle around here.

Got them all laid out and started sewing them up. It took only about an hour or so to finish both blocks in the 2 colour ways, not terrible for a fairly simple first block. I'm not one to cut the tips off, nor am I typically one to press seams open. I didn't prewash, or spray starch either. What can I say? I'm living on the edge and taking chances. I run with scissors too.

I wasn't going to join in the Quilt A Long hosted by Busy Hands Quilts but it seemed a good way to avoid doing a little bit of paperwork and add little something extra to my blog. I haven't played along in anything like this before so I figured since I'd be making blocks and would probably end up blogging about them anyway I might as well join the cool kids in their linky party!

Stay tuned for Block 2...coming soon to a blog near you!

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Avoidance Is Key

Or is it?

It's tax time.
This means my avoidance skills are currently being used at their highest capacity. I am absolutely allergic to book work. It has been the bane of my existence since starting my small business in 1995; the albatross around my neck every single spring for 20 years.  By now you'd think I'd have overcome, put into place a system that helps me deal with it or even hired someone to look after it...but, no. I avoid it like the bubonic plague every single year, put it so far out of my mind that is all but forgotten until Mr. Purpleboots starts reminding me.

Here we are again, crunch time. A years worth of paperwork needs done and receipts are scattered in every nook and cranny of this cluttered house of mine. The tax form software sits under a layer of dust on the desk waiting, taunting.

But there was other madness on my mind. A pot of brown holy water that required my full attention, a boxing class that couldn't be excused again, a shelf of novels that needed immediate thinning and a floor full of Tula Pinks insanity that begged for three final seams.

Months of grumbling came to an abrupt halt yesterday.
Finally, a finish! A little avoidance goes a long way. 

Today's finish has been brought to you by
the letters C-R and A...and by the number 31.

Oh, and in case you wondered...I did manage to haphazardly compile and do a preliminary sift & sort for the dreaded paperwork marathon that lies ahead this week. I also managed to drink some wine, cook dinner and watch some Netflix.

Not half bad for a days avoidance, eh? I think I'll call the day a success.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Craving Satisfied

Managed to get my fix today. Finally. A little "wild" goes a long way!
The shoreline down over the Whalesback comes in at a close second to my first love, Polly Cove. My pal (and fellow dog lover) and I packed her VW with 5 dogs and set out to find some salt air and wide open spaces this morning. It was a great day for a hike!  We had planned to do Polly Cove but the parking lot here was empty and the barrens looked rather "snow-free" so we decided on a quick change of plans.

That's Peggy's Cove off in the distance.

Check out Ty, the Springy Thing at 3:00, in mid-spring! 

Beautiful day for lobstering.

Rescue dog "Jace" from Animal Rescue Coalition, is being fostered
by my friend. He would love to find his forever home soon! 

My Springy Things: Crazy Cooter & Izzy

This is a magical place. The sounds of the ocean, the water glistening like cut diamonds and the sight of happy dogs doing what dogs do best pleases me to no end. Here the rest of the world melts away. Here there is nothing but peace. Here I can both count and feel my blessings. Here I am connected and grounded. Here I can breathe and know that everything is going to be okay.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Slowly Getting Somewhere...

The Kona colours for the Gravity quilt are calling me but I'm doing my best to ignore their colourful pleas for immediate use until this Tula Pink madness that is "Peaks and Valleys" is done. Technically, if there is forward movement there is progress, right? Doesn't matter if the movement is as slow as turtles stampeding through peanut butter as long as there is forward movement; progress is progress. Even the Bunny Hop gets you some where eventually...

You know that joyful feeling when you finish piecing all your blocks and you finally get to lay them out to see how things are going look? I got there last night! No more HST's for me! Yippee!

You also know that sinking feeling when you lay out your blocks only to discover that you're 4 blocks short of a flimsy? I got there last night too. Clearly I didn't have enough HST's in my life after all. Poop.

So I stayed up way past my bedtime and went back to the cutting board.
Just. Keep. Sewing.

Finished up the last 4, pressed them out nice and flat...but...
Houston, we have a problem. This little elephant was marching completely in the wrong direction. (Enter seam ripper.)
Just. Keep. Sewing.

Finally, I was able to lay out all the blocks and shuffle them around til I got them into a half decent setting. A silver lining to currently being stuck in wait for the Giant Wiggler has appeared; suddenly I have a bit of floor space that is not a thoroughfare for the springy things, so I took full advantage of the space. My Ma was here at the time of this afternoons great shuffle and she just had cataract surgery yesterday on her only sighted eye, she is blind in the other. So, if you're not fussed with the placement feel free to blame her, I've been blaming her for things for years.

A couple rows have been assembled. The grand prize in this box of Tula Pink Cracker Jacks is suddenly realizing that despite the finicky & time consuming matching of all these little points in the vertical joining of blocks there will be no matching necessary in the horizontal rows. Phew.

The light at the end of the tunnel has appeared. While it is completely possible that it could be a little engine coming down the track to nail me, it could be that my virtue is being rewarded.

Just. Keep. Drinking. Sewing.

Friday 17 April 2015

Wait For It...

I'm not a patient person.

I make quick decisions. I am an impulsive person. I bought my little Jeep without even considering where I might put 3 springy things, my child or a bundle of toilet paper on grocery day. I bought my first motorcycle before I even had a license to ride. But for a whole month I tormented myself with the pro's and con's of upgrading to a long arm quilting machine. And when I say tormented, I mean it. This was not a whim...which is REALLY unusual for me. I actually thought about this. There was a crazy long list of reasons not to upgrade and a really short list of reasons why I should. Well, the "pro" list was maybe not really a list per se...there was only one line on that side of the chart. Wanna know what it was?

"I want one".

Funny how 3 little words were able to carry enough weight to tip the proverbial scale of a month long compounded list of practical, sound, reasons not to upgrade.

Been three weeks plus a day that I ordered my Giant Wiggler. You can imagine that the week of wait promised by the dealer was enough to kill me. But then another week came and went. And now here it is, Friday again. She's got the money and I've got the time.

My frame is on back order; can't do much without the frame.
Clearly the universe is punishing me for ignoring the chart.
And so, I must wait.
And that, my friends, is one of the hardest freakin' things for me to do.

The word alone carries an expectation of more.
It can't possibly indicate a 3 week pause.


It's so very difficult. In fact, the pain of waiting ranks right up there with the sharing of a favourite chocolate bar, admitting I miss my sister Judy, resisting the urge to add a new springy thing to our family, seeing a still pool and not jumping in to splash it up, cleaning the shower stall, stopping at one bottle of red wine on a Tuesday night, driving the speed limit when Ram Jam is shouting about Black Betty, watching snow melt...
Can you feel the agony?

Excuse me while I go borrow some pins from Voodoo Duck to poke into my left eye...

Monday 13 April 2015

Calling All Kona Nerds...

In the meadow we can build a snowman...
(No, scratch that.)

In the valley we can build a rainbow...
(Yes, that's better.)

I like it.
And, I like Konas too. A lot
Maybe not as much as some folks do, but I do like'em a lot.

We set out today to scour the shelves of Avonport Discount Fabrics in the Valley in search of 114 specific shades of Kona solids for the Gravity quilt, which was designed by Jaybird Quilts. I'm chomping at the bit to get going on it. Lot's of people in blogland have decided to give it a go. There's even a blog hosting a "Gravity Quilt-a-Long" if a person wanted to join in on this king sized, colour crazed, patchwork bandwagon...not that I am participating in it, but just sayin' there is one out there!

We found 'em... lots of them.

105 of them to be precise.
105 out of 114 ain't bad!

Yup, that's one helluva lot of Kona Candy in one fell swoop. 
The mother load of cotton-y goodness, all sorted & labeled, ready to go.

Is it wrong that I wanted to hug my bag of Kona?

Kinda makes me weak.
And a wee bit poorer than I was yesterday. 
Guess I'll have to save up some twoonies while we wait for the 9 delicious shades that were missing in action to show up in their order. 

If any of you fellow Kona Nerds out there want in on this adventure Faye ordered more books and the necessary rulers, it's all in stock and waiting for you there.... 

Sunday 12 April 2015

Sew A Little Springtime

Shuffled the rec-room around again to make room for the gals to come have a sewing weekend. We only took away a certain big-chair from a certain somebody for 2 nights...and you know he'll get over it since there was so much yummy food in the kitchen.

There was much stitching, of course a little bitching and as always, lots of laughs. There was some paper piecing going on, some delicious batiks managed to get themselves finished into a flimsy and The Enabler made some great progress on her Tardis Quilt. I managed to muster up some precision to put into some of those blasted blocks for the Tula Pink pattern Peaks & Valleys I had started quite a while back; I believe the count is at 30 now so just 6 more half blocks to go. I'm not sure why I ever decided to piece that particular quilt as the repetitive nature of the pattern is making me mental... my points however are rather impressive despite my boredom with the overwhelming number of HST's involved. And, since I clearly didn't have enough half square triangles in my life, I added a few more for good measure when I decided to piece up a Giant Vintage Star on a whim. Just eight fat quarters and a hunk of white Kona sliced and diced into big triangles turned out to be a super fun and fast flimsy that provided a welcome break from the tedium of Tula Pinks madness.

The Wee Wiggler went to its new home Saturday night making way for the Giant Wiggler to come home to roost. Waiting is the hardest part...I am not a terribly patient gal therefore that phone call from the Pfaff dealer just can't come soon enough. The girls are jockeying their flimsys for position already, I believe the wait list is fairly lengthy given the stacks of tops they've all got ready for me to "practice on"...seems I could well be doomed to a life in the basement slaving away at the helm of the new p3 Power Quilter. 

Spring seems to have finally arrived, the snow banks shrinking daily, so things are looking up! The Fatboy shed his winter blanket and sang a short song; rumbling music to my ears. I was poking around outside and signs of life are evident, but you've got to look under all the melting snow and ice to see it. The primroses are growing and I actually hauled a weed from the edge of a flower bed, hard to imagine that things are actually growing under all that ice; clearly the Earth knows it's Spring even though Old Man Winter wasn't quite ready to give up. 

Aah yes, our long awaited Spring has arrived...won't be long before my pig tails will be blowing in the breeze!
Just. Can't. Wait.

Thursday 9 April 2015

In Search Of Spring

An attempt to get up the hill with the springy things was made yesterday; that blue sky was irresistible. I trudged my way to the top of the first trail but in the thick of the trees it was impossible to stay on top of the snow and with every footstep I was thigh deep in snow. (Retreat! Abort mission.)  I will have snow shoes next year, resistance has proven futile. The weather patterns are changing here along the coast and one must adapt.

Soon I will get "my fix".
I crave it: the wild.
I need to have it. 
It grounds me.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Thoughts From The Couch...

Finished up my wee quilt yesterday. It was another day of "Springter" here in Nova Scotia so along with 5 more friggin' inches of snow came a few cancelations in the shoppe...that makes it a sew day.

Woke up to 4" of this white crap, but by days end it was 5"
The calendar lies I tell ya... Spring, my ass!

I say "puh-TAY-doh".

My Dad said "buh-TAY-doh".
He loved his buhtado's. I loved my Dad more than words can say...oh, what I wouldn't give to see my Dad and my son sitting down to a mashed buhtado eating contest. It'd be debatable who might win, my boy definately has that Levy appetite; seems my boy shares a little something with the greatest man he'll never know.

This long snowy winter has turned me into a couch potato...I've got 10 extra pounds on me to prove it. Clearly a proper dose of Spring is necessary to get me off my butt and back on track...this rut I'm digging is getting rather deep!

This little quilt was a fun winter distraction. We're always debating the proper way to say things. I see a whole series of quilts.... like tomatoe, ketchup, or scallop for example....

It's "sk-AWL-up" by the way... say it right.

Linking up with Lorna over at Let's Bee Social! 

Saturday 4 April 2015

Doors? What Doors?

My work here is done. I have worked my magic with the drywall compound, sanded my little heart out, primed and painted. Luckily there was just enough of each in those original Benjamin Moore cans to get me where I needed to go. The rest is up to my boys. They've just got to put in baseboards and a heater now to finish up my 93$ reno...which officially ranks it the cheapest "honey-I-have-an-idea" I've ever come up with.


The calendar continues with its lies. It's claiming to be Easter, but I just can't believe it. In fact, my pajamas are flannel Santa's today! I haven't put a single Easter decoration out this year, neglected to host my typical "Making Good Friday Great" party and though I have nibbled my way through a fair bit of chocolate lately,  I am nowhere near the Cadbury Cream Egg induced coma that would typically be overtaking me at this point of the year. Nope. Old Man Winter has his hands gripped tightly on us here in Nova Scotia; the weatherman is predicting another week of "springter". They say you shouldn't shoot the messenger, but let's just say Peter Coade and Cindy Day had best be watching their backs!

Made this little hanging quite a few years ago.
Seems I was in a wool driven, blanket stitching fury that year.

If the Easter Bunny happens to find you tonight, lucky you! Enjoy your eggies.
If he doesn't, the oh-so-hungry fox (clearly in socks) has probably eaten the damn rabbit and your chocolate.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Round and Round

Packed up the Jeep on Monday with a bunch of sewing stuff, grabbed my buddy Linda over at Scrapmaster and zoomed up the highway. When Voodoo Duck gets in a bag you know things are about to get interesting...

We signed up for a full day class at It's Sew Time, in Elmsdale, to finally learn how to play with the circle attachments added to my arsenal of weapons toolbox back at Christmas time. And learn we did. Not only did I figure out how to twirl away in circle-y glee I also learned how-not-to install my zipper foot, how to sew in a normal zipper with the whirlygig thingy and how slick putting in invisible zippers can be with a fancy little foot from Pfaff. All this and about another gazillion things about my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 that I never knew for 35 bucks and some gas. I rarely take classes...too busy, too expensive, too far, too whatever-excuse-fits...though as proven on Monday, I clearly should take more! Classes are good!

We made these little sewing cases as a way to learn all these new skills. Figuring out the spacing for the lettering took a long time, the rest was simpler. Sort of.

There are zippers and pockets on this wee thing's actually kinda cute. I am seriously crushing on the interior fabric, a new FQ addition picked up at my LQS on Saturday. (Could. Not. Wait. To. Use. It. Must. Buy. More...MUCH. MORE.)

Look at my pockets all matched up & know how I am about matching prints, remember the elephants?

In BIGGER news, there's a lil reno happening in my quilty corner. A giant wiggler is coming to nest here and these doors had to go to free up the floorspace. My most awesome husband and my son are working away to get things ready for the arrival of my brand spankin' new Pfaff 18.8 long arm. 
More on that later...

(Pst... It's a robot. I've always wanted a robot.)

Linking up with Lorna over at Let's Bee Social!