Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Four Christmas Trees!!

Christmas Day is one week away!  But Christmas celebrations have started early and go on as long as possible in our house!! 

We finally put up and decorated our tree today.  We had carols playing and a crackling fire in the fireplace, on our TV screen courtesy of our satelite provider LOL!  Our collection of Santas, snowmen and angels will get displayed tomorrow.  We think this is our seventh Christmas here in Florida and we have amassed quite a few decorations.  I miss some of the special ones we have left at home in Nova Scotia along with our family and friends.

My second tree is just above this post - I found a countdown clock to add to my blog!! I read a blog lately where someone was trying to do just this. If you want to know how to do this, email me or leave a note (with your email) and I will tell you how.

Every year, no matter where I am, as we decorate our Christmas tree I think of Boston.  Nova Scotia, my home province in Canada, and Massachusetts have a very special history which dates back to Dec 6, 1917.  Early that morning, just after the school day had started,  in the crowded wartime harbor, a French cargo ship loaded with TNT and other munitions collided with a Belgian relief ship, causing a fire, explosion, and tsunami that leveled over 2 acres of the port and killed 2000 people.  This was the greatest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Also, that night while thousands had to sleep in the open, a blizzard hit and caused many more deaths.   In the ensuing rescue effort, a well-supplied Massachusetts delegation was among the first to arrive in Halifax and the last to leave. The next year, the still-struggling city of Halifax thanked the people of Boston by sending them a 46 foot fir Christmas tree, a tradition that was revived in the 1970s and continues today.  This is the fortieth year of this unique partnership.

Here is the 2011 tree being loaded  for Boston, on Nov 15th.  The tree is always donated and the tree grower is proud to be a part of this special friendship.

And here it is after the lighting on Dec 1st.

This 45-foot Nova Scotia Christmas tree is adorned with 52,000 LED lights.

Tree number four is our new outside Christmas tree.  My partner came in from her walk tonight carrying a rather large cardboard box, proclaiming that the garbage-picker was home!  Someone had thrown out a tree that appeared to be in good shape.  When we put it together and tried it we found that one section of lights would not work because a few lights were broken.  We replaced them (the spare lights were also in the box) and here it is:

Gotta love Christmas trees - especially the free ones!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Winner is.....

Tampa, Florida, United States
Current Time

Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 12:04:16 AM EST

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2011-12-18 05:04:00 UTC

(Although the date on this blog shows as the 17th it is the 18th here in Florida!)

Congratulations to Francine, aka MochaWildChild!!

This is what you have won:

And what about that surprise I mentioned?  I will be adding some fabric to match the mug rugs so  you can make something to match if you like.  These three fabrics are on the backs of the mug rugs.

There will be almost enough to make the top of a Holiday Hexagon:
(you may have to add a stripe of your own)
Thanks again to Beth at Love Laugh Quilt for the Tutorial.

As you can see I got busy with other things and haven't quite finished mine.

I like this tute by Rose from Rants 'n Random Ramblings that I found on

They are merely half-circles (diameter approximately 16-18 inches), top-stitched to keep their shape and then folded to make the tree.  I made eight of these in 2009 and another six last Christmas.  Four take only about an hour to make.  Of course, you can add personal touches to make these more special.

I will get this in the mail as soon as I get Francine's address.

Thanks everyone for visiting my blog and leaving comments.  I hope many of you will return.  I'll start writing again now that the Blog Hop Party is over.

A Merry Christmas to all who may not drop by again.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blog Hop Party!

I have just stumbled upon a great way to celebrate the holidays in bloggerville!  I have joined a Blog Hop Party!  And you can join the party!!  Over 200 quilt bloggers out there in blogland will be offering give-aways for eight days (from Dec 10th to Dec 17th).  Thanks to Michelle at the Quilting Gallery for organizing this great web activity!  She reports that  "As of December 7th at 6:00pm we have 226 bloggers registered from 20 countries."  I just added my site - so now there are at least 227!  Each day our readers will check that site, hop to different blogs, enter the contests and try to win a give-away.
Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways
For my give-away I will be offering a set of four mug rugs. They will look something like these (but the colours and designs will be a surprise):

To be entered, leave me a comment.
If you don't follow me, I'd love to have you join!
 I will be using a random number generator to pick the winners on Dec. 18th. 
I will announce the winner here and mail the items asap.
I will mail Canada and United States.
(You do not need to be a blogger to try to win.)
Good luck!

Check back regularly as I will be adding a couple surprises to the prize package.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snowbirds can quilt, too!

I happen to be one of the many thousands who migrate every fall and spring. I'm a Canadian snowbird, spending half my life in Nova Scotia and the other half in Florida. While down south I meet every Tuesday for a few hours of quilting, sharing and socializing with a great bunch of women. We have all ages (er,... I do happen to live in a seniors retirement park)within the span of about 60-90 with lots of skills and experiences to share.Last week, Niela showed some of us how to make what she called the "Twenty Minute Runner". I have since found it on line as the "Ten Minute Runner". I tried making a couple, taking more time but learning a lot. I think that anyone who can do this in ten minutes would qualify for the World Bionic Quilt-off!!
So, thirty minutes to make on and more like sixty to write a tutorial which I promised a few friends. This is my first, so here we go~~~

Twenty Minute Table Runner Tutorial
(See the finished runner below.)

(Refer to figure 1)  First, cut a piece of fabric for the front using measurements that are appropriate for the table for which you are making the runner. Here I chose 24” x 6”.

Then decide how wide you wish the borders to be. (Mine was 1.5”) The fabric for the back is cut the same length as the front. The width of this piece is the width of the front plus four times the width of the border plus ½”
Thus the width of my backing was 6+(4x1.5)+0.5 = 12.5”

Sew these two fabrics together along the length twice using a ¼” seam making a tube; see figure 2.

Press the seams open.
Turn the tube right side out. Arrange it so that the borders are equal and press.  See figure 3.

Trim the ends off squarely as in figure 4.

Now fold this in half lengthwise by folding the front together. You will have a long skinny rectangle showing just the back fabric. Sew the two ends using a ¼” seam as in figure 5 below.

Open this so the top is up and turn the pointed ends (that you just created) right side out so that it looks like this figure 6 on the back:

Before pressing this, make sure that the corners form a right angle, using your square as below in Figure 7. Then press.

Stitch the top in whatever design you wish. As there is no batting to shift, you may use a minimum of stitching here. I merely outlined the print part of the top, approximately 1/4 in from the seam lines.

There you have it, the table runner that can be made faster than reading this tutorial!
Good luck with this quick and easy project.  Nice to make a few and have them on hand for Christmas gifts.
Thanks to Niela for sharing this with us.

Don't forget to leave a comment, choose to become a member of this blog, or merely ask for an email when new posts are available.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mug Rug Bug and My "Monthlies"

I certainly have caught the mug rug bug!! I love making these sweet "little quilts". Since Nov 23rd I have made another nine! I've varied them, including some patchwork and interesting Christmas prints. Also, for the first time I have tried some of the fancy stitches available on my Viking. About time, having had the machine for six years!! They are all approximately 6" x 9". So now I have thirteen, enough to send to my mom. I hope she and the staff at her residence like them.

I have just started doing maching applique so maybe I will add a few stars or something to the plainer mug rugs.

I have been quilting for about six years and love trying new techniques and projects.. Yesterday I started making a series of wall hangings (one for each month of the year) using Nancy Halvorsen's designs in Count On It. Machine applique is a new technique for me. I must admit I tried it, without success a couple years ago, but that was without any instruction.

So far I have made two of the hangings, with some slight changes. Again these are to send to my Mom to brighten her room. I'll send these off with her Christmas package. The remaining ten "monthlies" have quite magically mushroomed into twenty-two!! My partner loves them so much she wants us to have a set too. They are lovely designs with only a few quite large pieces and thus provide a great way to begin applique. Nancy's instructions are great, too. After my earlier efforts, I found this easy to do and I am pleased with the results.

I hope you are enjoying reading my blog - don't forget to leave a comment and/or join as a follower.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Celebrate Colour

My mother is definitely an autumn person. She was born in late October, looks good in autumn colours because of her red hair and loves this season the best, too. So I was not surprised when she said she would like me to make her a quilt with maple leaves in it. Oh, did I mention that we are Canadian too? She was expecting the quilt to be predominantly autumn leaf fabric and was surprised and impressed with my maple leaf blocks.

I didn't really have a pattern for this quilt, but adapted a block I had seen on line. I like this leaf much better than the traditional maple leaf block. Also the fabric was a collection of autumn coloured batiks I had collected from various sources during the year. Every leaf is unique and is shaded from dark to light. I refer to this quilt as Mom's "nap quilt" as it is long enough to cover her when napping (70 inches) but narrow enough to keep the weight down. (She is an 85-yr-old senior.) The flying geese, appropriate for the season, made the quilt just long enough. Mom loves it and it just covers the top of her bed in her assisted living residence. I also made the pillowcase from coordinating fabric to match.

I am entering this quilt in the Celebrate Color contest offered by Stitched in Color. As usual I am just under the wire, and I see that there are lots of great entries there already!!

Celebrate Color

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I hope everyone has had a great thanksgiving. Of course, in Canada, where Thanksgiving began, it was celebrated over a month ago. As a snowbird I enjoy both special days. This year we had to postpone our get together with friends, who unfortunately are sick. We'll feast on Saturday instead.

Not much sewing done today, though I did try to get some of my fabric organized. Also completed three more mug rugs which I'll share with you another day.

I had been contemplating heading out to Jo-Ann's at 6 am tomorrow for a couple Black Friday specials; however, I've decided to do the same as last year and send in an on-line order just after midnight. Free shipping for orders over $35 and I get to sleep in! Gotta love the web!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A First Time for Everything!

Forty-seven years ago, just before I entered university, a family friend gave me a huge hard covered "journal" to record the great things that would be happening to me.  Well ... great things have happened but I never did record any of them.  I still have the book without a word written because I could not decide what to write first!!

So here I am finally recording ...

I have always loved mathematics and creating with colour - so, of course, It was very easy for me to become quite addicted with quilting.  My first quilts were made only six years ago.  I was so impressed with them, as were my family and friends!  However, we were all quite naive regarding quilting and they were really not that great.  However, it was the beginning.  I quilt because I love it!

Lately I have been just having fun making small Christmas items.  Here are a few of them:

These little mug rugs are so much fun to make! I am making about a dozen different ones to send to my mom to give to the staff in her assisted living residence.

I used some leftover half-squares from flying geese to make this candle mat (or coaster). I love using up scraps and leftovers - getting something for nothing.

This Holiday Hexagon was inspired by Beth at Love Laugh Quilt She has a great tutorial there for making this. I still have to sandwich, quilt and bind it. But here I am blogging instead!