Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perfect

It had been far too long since our last escape from city life and with the weather being more than you could ask for in terms of beautiful this past Sunday, we spontaneously decided to go for a hike.   An easy, but rewarding hike through some forest heading downhill to this river. 

Along the way, we spotted some flowers which signalled a search,

which led to some forest grown snacks.  Nothing beats the melt in your mouth sweetness of sun warmed, wild strawberries!
Our timing coincided with the most extravagant show of wildflowers I have seen.  It's not uncommon in Western Canada to spot the wild Alberta rose.  I actually had a wild rose bush in the backyard of the first house we lived in, back in British Columbia, making it very easy for me to gather rose petals, rose buds and even rose hips to use. This particular rose has a cleverly camouflaged resident - a crab spider waiting for unwary prey (can you see him?).
Unlike the wild rose, this wild lily was a surprising find.  I was telling my sons that it has been years, (when I was growing up in Saskatchewan), since I last spotted one and what a rarity they have become.  Next thing I know,  along the way into our hike, we encounter a glade that was the home for at least a dozen of these blooming beauties.  I was thrilled!
So many species of flowers were showing their colours, that it was a feast for the eyes, everywhere I looked.
There was such variety, such colour that I felt as if I'd been given a glorious gift.
I hardly took more than a couple of steps, before I was stopping to photograph some new flower I spotted (I was testing the patience of my fellow hikers with all my photo stops - they were keen to get to the river).
I took more than 70 photos on our little hike (not all were of flowers ;o).  Once we arrived at the river, we spent time exploring its shores.  Frogs were found (it doesn't matter how old my sons get, their curiousity to find creatures remains unabated) and my youngest even crossed paths with a wayward baby bird. After a quick photoshoot, this little wanderer was set free to reunite with his momma.

We also found perfect spots to rest and test the water with bare toes (the water was waaaaaaay too cold for any wading).  It was refreshing and a deliciously beautiful place to relax.
This is what some of our route to the river looked like. When alerted to the fact I wanted to take this picture, (how cool is a slope covered with wildflowers as a setting?) my family purposely stepped behind trees.

Instead of trail blazing for our return trip, we actually walked a trail that paralleled the river.  Lo and behold, great portions of the trail were surrounded by the most lush showings of wildflowers.
Just click on the above photo to see more clearly this snippet of wildflower (and red clover) abundance. 
 Nature's flower beds not only looked resplendent, the scent was every bit as sweet as can be imagined.  It was perfect.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just for fun.

Lucky for me, I always have some inspiring books on hand from the library. This weekend, I took a little break from quilt making to sew something to hang in my sewing space.  You will likely recognize my project, as it comes from the pages of Scandinavian Stitches, a delightful and creative book by the talented, Kajsa Wikman. 
I love the whimsy of this applique design, all that free motion machine embroidery was a lovely change from all the  precision sewing I usually do.  Sometimes I can be so caught up in accuracy when I sew - striving for perfection - so this project felt free-spirited and fun for me.  

 This little wall hanging was all about having fun and it's probably the number one reason why I like it (and I got to use some pretty scraps to make it ;o).
Such a simple, gratifying project has stirred my creative juices and made my sewing space even more welcoming. I even have a few little sketches of my own that I'm now thinking I'd like to translate into fabric art.  Just for fun.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The quilt with the funny name.

 This morning, my youngest son was watching me hand stitch the binding onto this quilt and we were talking about the creative process - how being creative means taking risks.  It's amazing what you will discover and learn if you're willing to take risks.  He spoke of examples from his own experiences (he loves to draw and digital paint)  and then he pointed to the quilt I was working on, "Remember, you didn't initially plan to make a quilt?  Look what happened because you were willing to see what you could do with those scraps.  This quilt is a happy accident!"  
Knowing exactly what he meant, I decided what a fitting name for this quilt.
 My youngest son provided the name for the quilt and my oldest son helped me with the binding.  I was busy pulling fabrics to choose something for the binding and was getting perplexed.  I couldn't find enough yardage from any of the fabrics I used for the quilt top to make the binding.  Hearing me muttering, J asked why not just use some of each.  I nearly laughed, because that was the perfect solution (why do I try to make things hard when the answer is right before me and so simple?). LOL
 Happy Accident has a scrappy binding and the simplest quilting I've ever done on a bed sized quilt. It's stitch-in-the-ditch, which makes the solid backing come alive with an all over zig zag pattern. Yay!
 Sometimes, the risk of taking a mish mash of fabrics (some of which are just downright UGLY) can result in something pleasing.  That's truly one of the wonders of quilt making. This time it has led to one Happy Accident I don't mind having on my bed. ;o)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ready to Donate!

  Once I decided on the layout, the top for this quilt didn't take long for me to finish (you can see that layout #2 is what I went with - thanks to everyone that commented on their choice).

Making a backing for this quilt took me a little longer to finish.  I was determined that I would use whatever fabric I could from the quilt top, to come up with a backing.  It took me a fair bit of piecing, but I managed to come up with enough to fit my needs.  Whew.
The quilting, couldn't have been simpler.  Lots and lots of meandering (which is my default choice for easy machine quilting).  Since the quilt is for a child, I thought all that quilting would help it last through the many washings it's sure to receive.
 Keeping that in mind, I chose to machine stitch the binding down (which worked better than the first time I tried this) rather than hand stitching it as I usually do for my quilt bindings. A dotty binding always makes me smile!
That means this crazy, boldly coloured, completely made from my stash quilt, is ready to be donated to Quilts Recover.  I'm excited to think a child will soon call this their own and I'm happy that those orphan blocks from my stash have been put to such good use.
(Sorry, but our weather has turned dark and rainy, so getting decent photos of this quilt has been extra challenging - despite the fact that the colours in this quilt are super saturated!)  At least with weather like this, I don't feel a bit guilty staying inside to sew! ;o)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Child's Play Quilt top

No sooner do I take one quilt top off my design wall to be basted, I start taping  up a new one!  This will be a quilt for a child, that I'm going to donate to Quilts Recover.  I'm very excited to be able to contribute to such a wonderful cause and am already thinking about the next quilt I want to make to donate (I know, I know, I need to finish this one first, but I can't help thinking about what I will make next).  Anyways, back to the quilt top in progress... I'm happy to be using "orphan" blocks  that have been carefully tucked away after making a quilt for my youngest  son several years ago.  I will admit, the colour scheme is well... a bit bright, but I'm hopeful that there's a child out there that will love it.

 I'm puttering around a bit with the layout.  Not sure if I want to go with the frog-in-the-star blocks all in one vertical row (above)...
or maybe keep the one in the middle of the quilt and space the others with rail fence blocks (speaking of which, I notice last night's late stitching provided me with 2 blocks with their rails mixed up. Ooops.).  I think I'm leaning towards the second layout.   Should be easy to have this top ready within the day.  Okay, that will bring my quilt tops needing basting and quilting up to 3.  I'm kinda excited about that - it makes me feel productive and it also means I'm clearing some space in my stash!

If you'd like to donate to Quilts Recover you can find the details here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stopping right here

Have you ever found yourself working on a project and unsure when to say, "Done!"?  This quilt truly has been a "make-it-up as I go-along" project.  I just wanted to see where my ideas took me.  Nothing to lose, since it's scraps from my stash (with a little purchased yardage as the background for those borders).    There is a temptation to keep adding to it, to see how else I can develop it, but I don't want to cross over from liking it to the point where I don't. 
So, I'm stopping right here with this quilt top (and  I probably should get it basted sooner rather than later so I don't have the chance to change my mind. ;o)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What happened to the scrappy green quilt?

 Here is another project that hasn't had a quick turn around from idea to completion.  I am getting closer to the finish line on it, though. I first started this scrappy project a couple of years ago.  I made some initial progress, worked on it some more, moved to a new house and then it stayed packed and forgotten.  I pulled that UFO out earlier  this year and worked on it until it looked like this.  It's been up on my "design wall" ever since.  I liked what I had, but the feedback I got on it said it needed to be bigger. I wasn't sure I wanted to add on to it in the same way as I had been, so I stopped working on it and just stared at it.  I knew it was only a matter of time before I would figure out what to do with this quilt top - make it bigger or leave it as is.  This past weekend I came up with an idea and started stitching up some more of those green scraps....

As much as I like the way it looked here,
I'm definitely considering this ( I will be adding a row of "little bit" strips to the bottom edge of the quilt top  to balance it out).
The addition of these "little bit" strips mean that the quilt will become bed size. Next up will be figuring out what to use for a backing and the binding.  I've enjoyed the creative journey this quilt top represents for me.  I challenged myself to use scraps, use a colour that is not a favourite, make up my own design and have fun with the process.  Even though it's not a completed quilt just yet, I count it as a success, since I met my intended challenges, although perhaps not in the most timely fashion. ;o)

Monday, July 4, 2011

What happened to the other HST blocks?

Funny how my little experiment with half square triangles led to making an unexpected quilt.  I found those HSTs irresistible.  Just in case you wondered what I decided to make from those two blocks, I thought I'd show you.  A pair of cushion covers!

 Nothing fancy here.  I just quilted the blocks and made some binding to hold the front and back covers together.
 I did have a little trick up my sleeve when it came time to make the back of the covers.  I found two shirts in my stash (ones that hadn't been de-buttoned...;o) and cut the shirt fronts so that their chest pockets would be featured on the cushion backs.  I'm thinking it would be great to tuck  lavender sachets into those pockets.
After the gorgeous long weekend we had here, and some time spent in my sewing room, I'm taping some new ideas up on my design wall.  I'm trying to finish up some of my on going projects and resist the lure of starting some more.  I think I could write a series on "What happened to...?" in regards to a few too many of my projects.   Oh, well.   At least the turn around time on this project wasn't too long. ;o)

Hoping all my Canadian friends had a great Canada Day long weekend and that all my American friends are enjoying their Independence Day celebrations!
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