Sunday, 30 November 2008

Belle and Snoopy - preserving memories

Many, many years ago, while I was pregnant with DD#2 I found a cheerful blanket pattern to crochet. When I finished up the blanket I noticed that the pattern was entitled "Cara's Blanket"; this was quite serendipitous because coincidentally that sweet baby was named Cara anyway; it was meant for her.

This cute little Cara however was allergic to acrylic and so I had to make her a cotton quilt. The sweetest fabric I could find at the time was a Snoopy and Belle (copyright Charles Schulz) print on a pink background. This, along with some great "Thermalon" batting and a wide satin blanket binding became her special blanket.
(Just look at these super sweet sisters; March 1983.)
Cara traveled with this quilt everywhere, and even as she grew up her magic blanket "Snoopy" was with her. I always teased that I would have to sew it into her wedding dress when she married as they were almost never seen apart. Now however this sweet little Cara is an adult, married woman. Yes, there was a piece of the quilt sewn into the lining of her wedding dress.

So, the tired and much love worn, twice re-bound and re-covered "Snoopy" now hidden under a lady bug print was becoming pretty lonely. After 24 years and a thousand washings, the fabric was worn bare but that Thermalon batting was still in great shape.
Cara really liked the Amy Butler kit that I purchased for myself for fun in December 2006.
Eventually I decided I would make it and then give it to her. Somehow I thought it would be a great idea then to use the love-worn Snoopy as the batting. I needed to add some extra all around as it was a bit smaller than the pattern I was making.

I save all my project scraps (batting included) and easily found some cotton batting of matching weight. The fabric on the "Snoopy" was all tattered and frayed. I chose the lightest weight, 100% cotton fabric I could find, to use as a stabilizing layer both over top of and below the original quilt with the added batting. A light weight drapery lining was the perfect solution, 60" meant no additional seams.

I layered Snoopy between 2 layers of lining, then the quilt backing and top. It is now all basted and marked for quilting. This I hope to accomplish over the next 2 weeks, I also have the "Jukebox" baby quilt to quilt to do while I have my work place set for quilting.

I wanted to share however some of my learnings from this project:

The "Easy Circle Cut" ruler was fabulous. My circles were quickly cut, perfectly round, and it also was ideal to use as a template for marking the concentric circles for quilting. I love it, especially that I had bought it on sale half price a few months ago.

I really do not like fusing applique pieces on quilt projects. I think that fusibles should be kept for wall hangings and none cuddly quilting. The pattern directed me to fuse the circles on the quilt. The kit had just enough fabric to cut my pieces so I was not comfortable enough to experiment.

I would make this pattern again but I would use an alternate applique method for the circles.

Serendipity stuck twice in my Cara's blanket stories, as I realized when I was mostly done that while this pattern is called "Belle", the "Snoopy" quilt I chose to carefully rest inside is really a print of "Snoopy" and his sister "Belle". I guess this too was really always meant for Cara.

It will be quilted over the next few weeks, along with this:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A few words from Bill and paying up to my Dad

I was quite thrilled today to be able to attend a speech and Q&A session featuring President William Jefferson Clinton. Bill was discussing the current economic situation in the United States and how it is affecting everyday working people. He was sharing optimism and a belief that there is still opportunity to make things better. Look at the glass half full, not empty and look forward to making the right choices for the good of an interdependent world.

In 1976, during my Senior year at Indian Hills H.S. I was planning to spend the winter break in Washington D.C. Our local congressman recommended me to join a group of other Senior year students for a few days that included meeting the president, Gerald Ford, as well as tours of the capital. My father, a proud Marine (Purple Heart) veteran of the Korean war, was very keen.

A couple of weeks before the trip I, being 18 and angsty, thought it might be a better idea to pass on the Presidential visit for a trip back to London so that I might "tie up loose ends with friends" - in particular one special someone. Now of course I did end up marrying the particular special someone in 1977. My dad however did not really get over how much my change of plans pissed him off.

I love my (sadly, no longer with us) father dearly and feel badly about this great disappointment - not that I married the sweetie but that I jilted President Ford. So, now I think I have made it up to him. I did put my $ down for a VIP seat that let me be within 40 feet of President Clinton. It was good to hear his take on how things can be going forward.

Quilting.... I have cut, sewn and assembled the Amy Butler "Belle". It is ready to be basted up for quilting. I look forward to sharing the project photos and a little story .

House Build.... A minor variance is needed, sounds like it is not a big issue for the Township Planning Department but still needs to be done. The hole is planned for next week and swiftly thereafter comes the pouring of the footings and wall. EXCITING!.
I am going to list this as lots of Acts of Green.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


The back yard this morning....

and so we head out for breakfast. I cleaned off the car and my Honey cleared the walkway and driveway from last night's snow. It is only November 22.

So we have decided. Papers are signed, permits in motion. We are looking for a hole in the ground very soon and then....

Our new home, the red honeymoon cottage.

Yes, there is a sewing studio. We also will still have a big kitchen, a comfy living room and a large bedroom. We will really put the cars inside the garage here because I don't want to wake up even that much earlier to clean the car windows off so I can drive to work. We will be living in the country, a big village with 110 water hook ups.

The goal is to be as green as possible so it will have ICF exterior walls nearly a foot thick, geothermal as the main heat source, situated on our lot for the best passive solar benefits, designed to (one day) have solar panels added - when affordability, ROI and efficiency are better, the building materials will be sourced as locally as possible in terms of manufacture and supply. We should be able to live there using much less energy resources, except of course the multi-coloured $ resource needed to pay for it all.

I hope that you readers will look forward to my sharing this project along with the rest of my living , quilting and stuff.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sort of a Super Saturday

We were out driving in bucketing rain and 3 Celsius, I told my Sweetie that it could be a bad wintry storm if it were 9 degrees less; well barely an hour later the winds blew up, the sleet blew in and pretty soon the roof and roads were white. The local Santa Claus Parade was tonight and the kids waiting for Santa certainly were going to be cold and wet, although totally in the Winter Wonderland spirit.

I planned to put the slow cooker on with chicken pieces and potatoes for dinner but our, local Superstore had small, fresh turkeys (about 5 kg) on sale at a better price ($5.49/kg) than the chickens were. Friends were coming over to enjoy dinner with us; turkey and trimmings became the new menu. I was not ready to make a turkey today though so there was not time enough to prepare stuffing.

What I did do however was to rub the bird inside and out with "herbes de Provence", stuff the cavity with a quartered apple, some stalks of celery and dried cranberries. I poured a half cup of cider into the cavity and let it roast, covered for a few hours (with a bit of basting). It was absolutely wonderful. Garlic & Pepper mashed potatoes (skins in), turnip, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, an amazing gravy using the juices from the roasted bird and my signature cranberry sauce*. I also put together an apple crisp for dessert.

Lyla stayed for a sewing night. She worked on a new quilt while I checked off quite a few projects.

Firstly I made my 2 bags for our annual good-will project. The Tuesday Night Bag Ladies collect toiletries over a few month time period. We sew up toiletries bags; then fill them with shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, special soaps, tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss. These are donated to a local women's shelter. This year will likely net about a dozen filled bags.

I hemmed my Sweetie's jogging pants. It sounds easy but they were lined and had a zipper and plackets at the cuff end, which needed a 2 inch hem.

I worked on rebinding Cara's beautiful ruched lap quilt. She dyed the cotton fabric and 100% wool for the raw edge binding herself.

Next I could finally choose a quilting project to work on. It has been so long since I could just choose something to do that I did not back myself into with a commitment.

Amy Butler "Belle" for the Cara or the Red & Purple quilt for Melissa? ??????????????????

Well, to help Cara have a lap quilt to snuggle under when Dave has his warm hand-dyed one that Cara made him, and because all those prints are too much fun, Lyla convinced me to do Amy Butler. The fabrics needed washing first; so into the washing machine they went and on to another project I went.

Here are the Amy Butler prints all freshly cleaned and folded. Ready for cutting.

I pulled out a stack of sampler blocks that were prepared 2 years ago. A few of the PP blocks still had the paper in place.. I figured I could pull out the bits, press and square these up. I think I need to put sashing (deep-red) between these blocks but I do have it here and ready to cut..

And the highlight of the week: The Remembrance Poppy Quilt from Pam Bono
Aren't these fabulous prints. The reds are amazing.

All this and it still was Saturday. There was still time to watch some SNL.

*LINDA'S Signature Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of white sugar (to taste)
  • 1 orange (be sure to wash the peel)
  • 1" piece of cinnamon stick
  1. Place the cranberries in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Zest the orange rind, placing about 1 teaspoon of fresh zest in the saucepan with the cranberries and the cinnamon stick. Add the sugar.
  3. Cut the orange in half and juice both halves. Add water as needed so that the liquid totals 1 cup. Pour this into the saucepan with the cranberries.
  4. Stir till well mixed. Cover the saucepan and heat till it starts to bubble, watch carefully as it can overboil and burn instantly. Turn the heat to low and let the Cranberry Sauce simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful to remove the piece of cinnamon stick before you serve the sauce.
  5. Let cool and serve. This keeps nicely in the fridge (in a clean, closed container) for a few weeks - if the jar is not emptied before then. This is also amazing as a condiment for a simple macaroni and cheddar cheese side dish.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Saturday Sewing

I picked up this set of 3 prints:

Lyla chose these 3 prints:

Penny found these:

We chose our sets of prints individually and amazingly, fortuitously they do work together in one quilt. We spent the day putting these 3 sets together to make one quiltFons & Porter Jukebox Pattern together for a baby that will be arriving for Christmas.

It is all basted up, I will machine quilt it. It just needs a label, the binding stitched down, a gentle washing, a light pressing so that it can be wrapped up for a special new baby. The Aunties are planning another "Auntie Bee" (just in case any more babies are getting ready to make their way into this world).

They really do look great together.

We enjoyed the day, sewing, laughing, chasing silly dogs from causing trouble, hugging dogs for being so cute and a quick run to buy some Custard Tarts from Nova Era. A couple of those, a couple of Cappuccinos and husbands who went out to do the weekly shopping for us; what a great day!

C'est l'Halloween

23 assorted devils, princesses, ballerinas, queens, draculas, pirates, cutesy little animals and one Unicorn. 145 miniature bags of Candy, handed out 2 at a time leaves 99 little bags of sugar for me.
Saturday will be a quilty day; dear friends are coming over for a quilt bee. We are making another baby quilt for a friend's soon-to-arrive grand child. We Aunties love to wrap babies in hugs.