Thursday, 29 December 2011

Purses - Handmade

I made a purse for my sister for her birthday. (June 20th entry) She had a lot of compliments so she asked me to make one for her best friend at work. Sharon picked out the colours of the fabric from the quilt store in Uxbridge, Ontario. Quilter's Cupboard, http://www.quilterscupboard.ca/
Here's the finished bag!
ps016 Charm Party Tote by Penny Sturges @ www.quiltsillustrated.com
The pocket is camouflaged against the front of the bag.













These are the pockets inside and the extra large snaps.













































My Mum asked me to make one for her to use on her trip to France. She gave me the measurements for the plane and bus and we chose a pattern that would work for her. We chose the Miranda Day Bag from www.LazyGirlDesigns.com and the zipper closure and shoulder strap from The City Bag.
Here's my Mum's bag,

Ta Da! The colours will match Mum's clothes on her trip.
The top and bottom fabric are both quilted before cutting out.

This is the shoulder strap.

Here are the pockets and the zipper closure for security!






Saturday, 24 December 2011

Yikes!!! I've Joined a Free Motion Quilting Challenge!!!!

I haven't been quilting very much lately. My job uses up a lot of my energy. I was checking out other quilt blogs and I came across a quilt challenge for free motion quilting so I am going to try it. There will be one technique a month starting January 1st. I will post my results.


 sewcalgal


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Butter Tart Trail


Taking drives in the country side is how we connected with many of our sources for local food products.  Combining this and a day out we checked different areas and found a link to the Butter Tart Trail in the Township of Wellington North (north of Guelph).  Included on the trail were antique stores, artisan studios, bakeries and home cooking, farms, country markets, greenhouses and garden centres along with bed & breakfasts, parks and unique shops.  Great way to spend a day so we planned, packed the cooler with lunch and munchies and we're off.

Sharon outside Picard Peanuts in St. Jacob's






On the way we decided to drop in to St. Jacob's to visit Picards Peanuts.  We have been visiting Picards for years after a chance encounter on a family outing and now long for their great tasting peanuts that other brands just don't match.  We stocked up on peanuts, Chip Nuts (peanuts in a chip coating - wow!), and some other goodies to pull out when needing something sweet and salty!  They now have retail stores in Talbotville, Winham, Fonthill, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Morriston, Waterdown and Woodstock, Ontario.  Still not close enough for us.  Thankfully we have turned on some friends to Picards and when they visit they shop for us too!




So getting back in the car we drove to Arthur to get on the trail and begin with River's Edge Goat Dairy.  I love goats they are so playful and fun to watch.  Goats milk, cheese and yoghurt have also become a favourite of ours and we love to create tasty meals with the different varieties.  Unfortunately for us the farm visiting hours had changed and when we drove up to the gate it was closed.  Okay, chin up, what's next?  Brenda's Bakery in the town of Arthur and butter tarts!  We walked in to the bakery/cafe and we met with wonderful cooking smells and a friendly greeting.  We bought a half dozen (3 raisin and 3 pecan) and went back to the car to sample our goodies.  Oh boy they were good, slightly runny with lots of flavour and a country crust.
Sharon's Raisin Butter Tart
Barb's Pecan Butter Tart

Filled with sweetness and a sense or exploration we drove on to Shepherd's Watch 100 Mile Market just the other side of Arthur.

The Market is a type of co-op that has vendors from different farms and producers of a variety of products.  We were greeted by a sheep farmer, my apologies for forgetting her name, who explained how the market worked and introduced us to her beautiful woolen blankets made from her sheep wool. Gorgeous and truly one of a kind.  We wandered around looking at fresh farm produce, organic products such as beans, legumes, flours, local meat and baking.  After sampling raspberry maple tarts we decided to bring some home with us. We also purchased vegetable pasta and rice pasta.

Next on our route was Roxanne's but again we were turned away by a closed sign informing us that on Thursdays you needed to make an appointment,  argh :(  This was one stop I really wanted to see since I'm getting back into stained glass this fall.  Oh well, onward tart tasters!  Next stop, Kenilworth Country Kitchen & Bakery home of the Butter Tart Sundae (no we did not partake!).

But, we did bring home butter tarts and dutch apple tarts.



Our last stop was to be Queen's Bush Bistro and The Backshop.  After being redirected because of construction in the town of Mount Forest we found the bistro but not The Backshop.  Standing in the parking lot we watched another woman walk towards a small courtyard and enter a door.  Beside the door was a very small sign letting us know we were at the right spot.  Thank goodness for strangers - this was one place we are glad we didn't miss.  There was fresh artisan bread, butter tarts, lemon tarts, blueberry tarts, mushroom and artichoke tarts, a large variety of soups and other non-veggie items.  We brought home three different types of soups (frozen) to eat when school begins, butter and blueberry tarts, a loaf of 10 grain bread and those mushroom artichoke tarts.  Everything is delicious and has inspired me to try to replicate them in our own kitchen, especially the savoury tarts!
After speaking with the clerk at the Bistro we found out that the group that organizes the Trail had not got together this year to make changes to their website or information, so that explains some of the closures and changes of times.  Oh well, we thoroughly enjoyed our day of driving, exploring and tasting.  And yes, we shared our bounty with friends and family!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Superquilter Tabletop frame

Well I have the quilting frame set up on a table in my living room. I have my Mega Quilter on the frame. Now I need to attach some fabric and practise. Once I had the frame set up I got nervous. I started thinking what am I doing? I'm not a machine quilter! Is it too late to take it back? Then I relaxed and took a breath then talked to Sharon and I calmed down. I will load the fabric tomorrow and give it a try.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Super Quilter Acrylic Frame

Well I did it! I bought a second hand table quilting frame to machine quilt all my UFO's. I will have to practise for a while but I hope to learn quickly:)

I went out and bought folding table legs and some more "C" clamps (it only came with 2). Next I need to buy a flat door about 6 feet long to attach the legs to. This should be heavy enough to handle the vibration but light enough to be folded up and put away when I need to.

This is going to be a great way to use up that ugly fabric I bought years ago (what was I thinking?) and make them into dog beds!!

This is what the frame will look like when I get it up and organized.











The frame comes with rails that extend to king size quilts, not that I want to work on quilts that big!!! I work more on small wall hangings and double bed quilts.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My Favourite Alternative Salad

This has to be my favourite "alternative" salad.  This is hearty, filling and so yummy and quick and easy!



Ingredients:  beets (cooked, peeled, cooled, chopped into bite size pieces)
                    green onion (chopped)
                    feta cheese (chopped into small pieces)
                    black pepper (to taste)
                    white balsamic vinegar (champagne vinegar works well too)
                    olive oil
                    couscous or quinoa

I don't have a recipe for this other than to say look at your ingredients and check to see if you think you have enough of each item, add more of something if you like.  I put the beets, green onion and feta in a bowl, sprinkle a little black pepper on top and then add the white balsamic and a little olive oil.  Mix everything up and taste.  If it is too sharp add a little more olive oil, too bland add a little vinegar.  Then I add the quinoa until I get a nice even mix of everything and if possible I like to let it sit in the fridge overnight so the flavours meld together.  Sometimes you might need to add more vinegar or oil.

This salad is so filling and flavourful we like to eat it all year round.  It's especially great in the middle of winter when you want something fresh tasting.  I know I have a hit on my hands when Barb says it her favourite too :)
Before the quinoa is added.

The Blueberries are Busting Out All Over!

On our way out to the Clarington Farmer's Market last Sunday we decided to pop in to Wilmot Orchards in Newcastle. This year's blueberry season has been amazing - they are huge, sweet and delicious!  Last year we frozen blueberries and used them all winter long in pancakes, muffins, on top of yoghurt and as blueberry coulis on ice cream but they didn't last long enough!  We decided we better pick some up to replenish the freezer.  As we drove in we could see the blueberries on the bushes from the parking lot, they were amazing and not prepared to pick our own on this visit we purchased two baskets of beautiful blueberries.  Wilmot Orchards has a really nice little cafe called the Appleberries Cafe where we enjoyed oatmeal blueberry squares and blueberry lemonade, yummy yum yum.  We met a couple and their children who are members of the same CSA as us and after having a quick conversation about food, CSA's and more food we were on our way to our next destination but, not before snacking on a few blueberries on the way back to the car.

We'll be going back to Wilmot Orchards to get more blueberries.  They said they are hoping to have them until the end of August.  Maybe next time we'll make a morning of it and pick our own!

Check out their website:  WilmotBlueberries.com



Fresh blueberries picked this morning!

Washed and ready for eating, oops, I mean freezing!
Packaged up tight for the middle of winter!

I'm Back!

We had this great idea back in June to begin this blog which we had thought about for a long time.  Then came the summer holidays and an online AQ (Additional Qualification) course.  I had no idea I would be spending so much time sitting at the computer working on this course.  It has been one of the most difficult courses I have taken.  I like to read things in print, make notes on the copy, and then write and edit and rewrite and edit - I'm no writer!  I'm sure some people who have taken the course thought it was easier to do online, I however, did not.  Anyways, after five weeks of reading, watching, and writing I'm back.

This week we picked up our CSA basket after a day of driving from home to Cookstown, to Innisfil, to Newmarket, to Uxbridge and back home again.  I was anxious to see what we had and since I haven't been doing much cooking lately thought I had better get back to it.  Too tired to cook dinner out came one of our Cabbage Roll creations that we put away last winter and inside our basket, more cabbage so instead of scalding my fingers making rolls I made lazy woman Cabbage Rolls.

Ingredients:  olive oil, 2 small cabbages, 1 pkg TVP, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 2 small onions, 1 kohlrabi, 1 yellow pepper, garlic, parsley, ground cumin, black pepper, bottle tomato juice and brown rice

Basicly I chopped the onion, kohlrabi and pepper and sauteed them in some olive oil until almost tender, added the garlic and stirred for about a minute.  Then I added the TVP and broke it into small pieces, added the canned tomatoes, parsley, cumin, black pepper and stirred until heated through.  The cabbage was cut into strips and added to the mixture.  When it cooked down I let it cool on the stove and cooked brown rice.  The rice was added to the cabbage mixture and left again to cool.  I found these great aluminum containers with lids so I scooped the mixture into seven containers until almost full.  Just before putting the lids on I took the jar of tomato juice and poured some over each container until it was all gone.  Put the lids on and sealed the edges.  Easy, pop in the oven dinners for this fall when things get busy again!



 


Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Hungry Caterpillar

I was looking through Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine (May/June 2008), and saw a pattern for The Hungry Caterpillar designed by Gail Kessler. It is based on the book by Eric Carle. Being a School Teacher and a Teacher Librarian I had to make this quilt.


I ordered 2 kits from the magazine and waited for them to arrive. I had never ordered anything from a magazine before so I was nervous. I wanted to make 1 for my class and 1 for my sister's class. I gave the kit to Sharon for her birthday and then life got in the way and it never got started. (See I told you last time there was a history of unfinished presents in our family - or is it just me?)

I wanted to get started on the quilt but I didn't have a lot of time during the school year. I also had a problem with the center panel of the kit. It wasn't in the correct order for the story or for the life cycle of a caterpillar. I think it was put in this order because the sizes fit nicely. I knew the children would tell me everyday that the pictures were in the wrong order.

I took out the fabrics and loved seeing the colours and textures from the book in front of me. The fabrics are from the Andover Fabric company.



I measured the pictures and the pieces of fabric in the kit and planned what I was going to do. I consulted Sharon because it was going in her classroom. She has a long narrow space that would be perfect for the quilt so I designed it to fit her space. As you can see from the cutting board it is wider than 6 feet!

I cut apart the panel and used the fabrics from the kit to make borders around the pictures. Sharon wanted a lot of the circle fabric in the quilt so I added more to the sides and the top and bottom. I cut the food fabric so it stayed in story order. I am happy with the results. It is very wide but fits her space.
I found a fabric to use on the back of the quilt that I think goes really nicely with this quilt. It is by the Robert Kaufman company and it is called, Chasing the Rainbow ll. When I get it sandwiched and quilted I will post a picture of the finished quilt. Now I have to design my quilt for my Library. My quilt can't be this wide so back to the design board I go. Any ideas? Let me know :)

Quilt Diva - Birthday Present

Many Several years ago my Mum gave me an unfinished quilt for my birthday. I had asked for the quilt because I loved the design and I didn't know how to applique at the time. She gave it to me with the bottom panel unattached and no details completed, ie. hairband, eyes... 

Now we do have a history of giving unfinished gifts in our family. I have given the materials in a box for a family gift then never gotten around to completing the project. I used to paint so I have also been known to give unwrapped gifts that were still wet!

I put the quilt away in a box with my other unfinished projects and forgot about it. Just recently a quilt shop near me was offering the Quilt Diva as a class and it made me remember I had an unfinished quilt of my own at home. I got it out and started working on it. 

Here is the quilt with the bottom panel attached
and machine quilted with metallic threads. You
can see the black I have chosen for the binding.


I had a lot of fun using buttons and iron on decals from my stash of extras. I went through 8 needles and worked on 3 different machines trying to quilt the background with metallic threads. I was glad when it was finally finished. I started on my Mega Quilter but it didn't work and I was too unfamiliar with the machine so I moved onto the Designer 1 that my Mum gave me when she bought a Designer 11. I finally used my old Lily to complete the quilt. i should have started on the Lily to begin with it is my most reliable machine. (To think I was going to sell it when I got the Designer 1!!!) 


I added jewels to her glasses, star beads for earrings
and drew on her face and hairband.
I put iron on decals on her suitcase and
a zipper pull from an old pencil case.





























My favourite part is the backing I chose out of my stash. The colours go perfectly with the colours of the quilt. All I have to do now is make a label to go on the back. One UFO down, too many to count to go!!!!


I had just enough of this fabric to do the back of the quilt.




Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ah Ha! Figured Out What to Make.

Okay this is what I had left over from the wall hanging and the Bargello in the Round. 

I cut all the strips into 3/4, 1, and 1 & 1/2 inch strips. then I sewed them together to make a wave. I cut the best rectangle from this pieced assortment and had a small piece of completed Bargello. I sewed it to the background fabric. Then worked on making a pouch and pocket on the inside for the wires and charger etc. The pocket is roomy in case I want to carry a small notepad in there as well. Sometimes you need to use good old pen and paper.

Here is the front. I had to bind the edge instead of sewing and turning it right side out. Just didn't have enough fabric.
Here is the front and back opened so you can see the Bargello. The green elastic is a hairband I sewed to the inside to help keep the case closed.




Here it is closed with the hairband around the back.
This is the inside. you can see the iPad inside the big pocket and the wires inside the little pocket. There is the hairband that I used. It is sewn to the front, I followed the quilted lines on the front so the stitching wouldn't show through on the front.

I now have very small pieces of this fabric left over. What I usually do is give them to Sharon and she takes them to her class. The children use my scraps at the creative table and make beautiful art projects. :) Now what project to work on? Do I machine quilt some finished tops or start another top? Tune in to find out!