Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Quilty Resolutions

Hello Everyone!

Goodness, where has the time gone?  This year has simply flown by and I for one am glad to see 2010 come to an end, hoping the new year will bring more joy than sorrow for us all.

I don't usually make new year's resolutions (mostly because I never keep them!), but thought it would be a good idea to resolve to make a few changes, especially as it relates to quilting, because let's face it, those last 10 pounds I "should" lose are never coming off and there's no way I'm ever taking up jogging...or doing yoga again...ever.

Here's what I hope to do this coming year:

1. I will treat every quilt I make as a learning experience, an opportunity to say 'wow I really like what I did here' or 'wow, what was I thinking?' and leave it at that.

2.  I will spend as much time as possible in my sewing room (or garden), working on projects I enjoy, without apologizing for the dust or general disorder of the house, life is short and I have quilts to make (and flowers to tend to)!!

3. I will challenge myself in ways that are meaningful to me, by using colours outside my comfort zone, trying new techniques, and quilting something bigger than lap-size quilts!

4. I will use up most of , half, ok, a quarter of my stash instead of simply buying new fabric for each new project (I'm already wavering on this one!) I don't think I can actually keep this resolution, so how about this:  I will try to use fabric from my stash as much as possible in the coming year.  Yup, this seems doable. ;-)

5. I will enjoy the process (unless I have to cut over 100 half-square triangles or something ridiculous...I can't promise I'll enjoy that process, but whatever, you get the idea) and worry less about the outcome.

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scrap - Bee Blocks for January

Hello Everyone!

It's good to be back home and working in my sewing room again.  I joined an on-line quilting bee a few weeks ago and we begin the fun this January.  It's a scrap-bee going on at the 15 minutes of play blog (, check it out if you have the chance.  Every month, one person sends out instructions for the kind of block they would like you to make.  The secret ingredient here is we all have to use 'made' fabric from scraps for our blocks.  Here are the blocks I made for January:

See how the triangles are made up of a variety of fabrics?

I used telephone book paper as the foundation for the triangles (as per the instructions I was given for the block).

We all have to make 10 inch blocks using scraps with red strips and a yellow center. I only had to make one block, but it was so much fun to do I made three.    
 My month for the scrap-bee is April, so I have a while before I need to decide what kind of block I want everyone to make.  I can't wait to see what this quilt will look like once all the blocks are put together.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last of the quilting before Christmas

Daily Quiltspiration - Don't get hung up on colour choices made in past quilts.  Each quilt is a reflection of who you were at that point in time, nothing more, nothing less.  Past quilts are testaments to the evolution of your own personal style.

Hello everyone!  Well, I spent some time in my sewing room the other day and I know it will be the last time I have to sew before Christmas.  I wanted to have at least one black and white quilt top done, but that's just not how it worked out.  Here's what I have done so far.

My posts will be few and far between during the holidays, so I would like to extend my best wishes to all of you this Christmas and for the New Year!


Only sixteen of forty-two blocks made...

...and I'm already...
...playing with block placement!
What's your favourite?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Blogger's Christmas Poem

Hello all!  Here's a little something I wrote just for you (with tongue firmly in cheek mind you)....

A blogger’s Christmas Poem

‘Twas twelve days before Christmas,
when all through the house,
All the bloggers were stirring,
busy clicking their mouse.

Their posts were now ready,
Written with care,
In hopes that their cyber-friends
Soon would be there.

Ready to read

About things big and small,
Of projects and recipes,
Even trips to the mall.

The quilters were busy
With their needle and thread
The gardeners were dreaming
Of warm days ahead.

Bakers were sharing
What goodies they’d made
Their cookies and candies
Temptingly displayed.

Though I am now sleepy,
It’s time for my nap,
Ready to dream of cookies and gardens
With a quilt on my lap.

I have one last little something
I really must say
To my friends out in blog-land
Have a happy holiday!

Merry Christmas to all!
 ;-) Mary-Frances

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Retro cookie recipe

Hello everyone!  Here's a blast from the past, a genuine circa 1950's (or maybe it's from the 1960's) cookie recipe that my mother used to make for us every Christmas.  They're called Cherry Snowballs and are one of my favourites...


Cherry Snowballs

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (we never added this)
Maraschino cherries, drained
Icing sugar

Blend butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar and vanilla thouroughly.  Sift flour and salt together and stir in with butter mixture.  If using, add nuts.  Chill dough approximately 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 F.

Wrap a heaping teaspoonful of dough completely around a cherry for each cookie.  Be sure cherries are dry.

Set cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 minutes.  Cookies will be set but not brown.  While warm, roll cookies in icing sugar.  Let cool.  Makes about 36 cookies.

I set the cherries out the night before, so they are good and dry for baking.

One lone snowball....

...becomes 36 snowballs.  They don't look cooked but the bottoms are quite brown. 

Rolled in icing sugar and ready to eat!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two quilts are better than one, right?

Daily Quiltspiration - Consider how the artist chooses to frame his or her work, is the frame heavy and ornate, slim and minimalist, somewhere in between?  How about photographs that catch your eye, are there mats of varying colour and widths?  Pay attention to what catches your eye first and how the frame plays a part in focusing your attention to the subject.  Consider this when making a border for your next quilt.

Hello everyone!  Just want to show you what I've decided on for the black and white quilt...well, I couldn't decide so I'm making two black and white quilts instead!   One will have only pink as the center block and the other will use not one, but three of my jewel tone Kona fabrics, namely teal, deep purple (eggplant I think) and periwinkle.  It's a little more subdued, but still fun.


Here's the periwinkle and the teal...

...the purple...
...and the hot, that's zingy!
One placement option for the blocks

And another...once I make a few more blocks for each quilt, I'll really be able to play with the placement...sunshine and shadow, streak of lightning, chimneys and many options!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

shop hop goodies

Daily Quiltspiration - Be sure to add a few neutrals to a scrappy quilt to give your eyes a place to rest.  By the way, a neutral doesn't necessarily mean beige, or white, Freddy Moran considers red to be a neutral as she mentions in her book Collaborative Quilting.

Hello everyone!  I'm sill recuperating from my wild shop hop this past hours of perusing fabric, good food, lots of laughter and chocolate, what a great way to spend a Saturday. 

I was very, very good and did not spend more money than I had on me and did not whip out the credit card....that was my own personal goal.  I'm waiting for the sales at the end of December....that's when the credit card starts smokin'!  I did buy a few things though....


See?  I told you I was restrained...the roll in the front is a swirly leaf quilting pattern, (yup, I'm actually going to try a little free-motion quilting in the new year and thought this would be a good way to get started)

Two charm packs from Me and My Sisters Designs, so cheery....

A new pattern ...

Only 7 fat quarters (even I can't believe this) that pepto-bismol pink fabric...

Yet another kit for a mini quilt (16 x 21)...if I like it, this might become the center of a larger quilt...we'll see. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Black and White quilt

Daily Quiltspiration - Take advantage of the great quilting books available at your local library.  It's a great way to explore different styles and color options for your own quilts without spending a lot of money.

Hello everyone!  A few days ago I mentioned two-colour quilts in my daily quiltspiration.  I thought it would be a nice change to make a black and white quilt with a dash of colour added just for fun. 

Here are my black on white fabrics....
...and the contrasting white on black.

I can't decide which of these would give my quilt the most zing...that hot pink in the back is a definite contender.  The solids are from Kona - I bought them in July and have been too afraid to cut into them!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shop hop

Daily Quiltspiration - Grab your favourite quilt magazine or book and take a few moments to look and dream and plan.  I have a pad of post-it notes next to my reading chair so I can jot down ideas for future projects and then place them on the magazine page for future reference.

Hello everyone!  I am so glad it's Saturday.  I've been planning a shop hop for a few of my quilting friends and today is the day!  Yoohoo!  Beginning in January, we will meet once a month to cut fabric, sew and make some quilts for charity.  Some of us have been quilting for a few years and some are newbies, but regardless of experience, it will be fun.  To get us in the quilting mood, I thought a trip to a few quilt stores in town was in order.  Here are the links to a few of the shops we will visit today:


Only one store is not on the web, A Sewing Sensation.  Next time, we'll have to head out of town, as I've heard of a few great quilt stores in Lethbridge (south of the city) and Airdrie (north of the city). 

Happy quilting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

How many days to Christmas???

Daily Quiltspiration - If you find the idea of colour selection daunting, why not make a classic two-colour quilt, like blue and white, or red and white.

Hello everyone!  We've made it through another week, yoohoo!  Please make sure to take some time for yourself today, even if it is only 5 minutes.  The crazy hectic time of year is fast approaching...although, for some, it's always crazy hectic :-)!

This summer I made a quilt for my DD's boyfriend, it was from a kit.  After that lovely experience, I told my DD that I would never, ever, ever, make a quilt from a kit again....famous last words, as since then I have made one baby quilt from a kit (although I did change a few things and added some wonky blocks) and am now thinking of making this Christmas wall hanging.  I just can't help myself I guess, I see these lovelies on display at craft/quilt shows and I think, "yeah, sure, I could do that, it won't take much time, I'll just whip it up, all the fabric is selected for me, the instructions are easy, I'll have it done in no time." (cue hysterical laughter)  Righto - does any of this sound familiar?  I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this. ;-)

So here goes nothing...wish me luck!


This is the center panel for the wall hanging - a total cheater, but the Santa's are too cute, so couldn't pass it up.

I'll use the rest of the fabric to make twister blocks (you can see them on the pattern on the right) and a red flange around the center panel...and that's it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quilters and their pets

Daily Quiltspiration - Colour selection often strikes fear in the heart of the new quilter.  Let the designers do the work for you and select fabrics from a coordinating line.  This guarantees that the colours will work well together and you can focus on making your first quilt!

Hello everyone!  I just want to let you know about a wonderful photo display being held at the Quilt University website. Quilters were asked to submit photos of their pets in the quiltroom and there are some really cute ones.

Be sure to check it out, it will brighten your day.  I missed the deadline for submission this year, so here's my entry.


Quilt approved by Max - No matter how often I tell our dog to get off the quilt, he has to sneak back and give it his seal of approval!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A language all our own!

I saw this yesterday and thought it was too good not to share with all of you.  Thanks Joyce of jdebreuilsartandquilts for bringing it to my attention and thanks to Michelle of With-heart-and-hands for compiling the list.

Take a peek here to see what I'm talking about...