Mojo, UFO’s, and a new start

Happy New Year!
I’d say I’m surprised that it’s already 2016, but that would be a big fat lie.  2015 started out so well, but after many unfortunate events, I lost my mojo in a big way. I mean a really big way. I forced myself to complete projects that I had promised to people, but I really had a difficult time getting through them. I would usually wait until the last minute and then push myself to complete it in the time promised. It was the first time in almost 13 years that I haven’t done something creative every day. I made sure to photograph the things I did complete, just in case I found the urge to blog, but it didn’t happen. My laptop is sitting in several pieces, awaiting a part to repair it, so I had no way to access the pictures I did take. I stayed away from all of the trade shows and craft fairs that I usually participate in, and avoided taking on new projects, any excuse I could find to justify my lack of desire to create. It really was a drab and boring several months. I did get my quilting area reorganized (that was a massive undertaking) thinking that it would help to inspire me, but it did no such thing. It wasn’t until December that found my spark again. In the end, there were three things that helped me find my mojo.

The first thing to happen was my beautiful cousin giving birth to a precious baby girl on December 5. I can’t pinpoint exactly why her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter resonated with me so, but as soon as heard the news I couldn’t wait to get to the machine. We had spoken earlier about a colour palette, and I had pulled a selection of fabrics a few days prior.


It took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to do, but I’ve now rounded out my palette and gotten everything cut out. I have about 1/3 of it sewn, but I had to put it aside as things got really busy around here.

The second thing that happened was that we said goodbye to a wonderful, kind man. My uncle Walter passed away on December 12. He was the sweetest, most patient man I’ve ever known. Uncle Walter was a tailor by trade, and I always felt a connection with him. When I was in high school I wanted to take tailoring, move to Saskatoon, and open a shop with Uncle Walter called “Walter Alters”. My cousin, his daughter, just reminded me of that at Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t help but giggle. I have so many wonderful memories of holidays, and summer vacations, and family events, and Uncle Walter was a part of them all. I recall as a teen being annoyed by Uncle Walter’s attention, and the questions he asked when we would see each other after months of no contact. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to appreciate the fact that he was genuinely interested in me, and what I had been doing. He had a way of making me feel special just by spending a few minutes talking with me. I thought about Uncle Walter often in the weeks after his passing, and such beautiful memories helped to heal my soul. It is so fitting that I thought of him most often when I was downstairs, choosing, pressing, cutting, and folding fabrics for the baby quilt. I will miss him so very much.


The last thing that triggered a spark in my soul was project that I have been putting off for 18 months. Yes, you read that right. My neighbour had asked me ages ago if I could make a memory quilt out of her daughter’s baby clothes. I said I could, took delivery of the tote of clothing, and filed it away under my sewing table. It was always there in the back of mind, but I was not eager to tackle it because of the sheer volume of work it required. I kept putting it off until she finally got tired of waiting and asked if could complete it in time for Christmas. This was a few months ago, so I assured her I would have it done. And then I left it. And left it. And left it. Finally, at the beginning of December, I pulled the tote out and started to think about what I was going to do. I had an idea of what she wanted, but I had no clue how I was going to execute it, or even where to begin. It wasn’t until the last week before Christmas that I finally got to it. I used simple squares in 2.5″ , 4.5″,  and 6.5″ and just let it come together how it may. I missed the deadline by a few days ( I cleared it with her before I did) and almost wrecked myself getting it done, but she loved it so it was worth it in the end. It surprised me how much fun I had working on it. I am thrilled that it is done, and I am even more thrilled that I enjoyed myself!!


I’ve even been back downstairs every day since, sometimes sewing, sometimes just puttering, but at least I’m down there again. I’m excited to see what 2016 brings!

hockey rocks!!

As a hockey mom (but not one of THOSE hockey moms), it’s a given that my house is overflowing with hockey paraphernalia. Sticks, pucks, banners, posters, nets, goalie equipment, you name it, I’m tripping on it! Like so many young boys, my wee dudes are obsessed with the game of hockey. Our season ended a couple of months ago, but some of the kids in town are playing spring hockey. One of those kids is a young man named Kale. As much as my kids love the game. Kale is on another level. His mom tells me that Kale literally has hockey on the brain 24 hours a day. If he’s not on the ice, he is downstairs practising his shot, or outside having a game of road hockey. It came as no surprise when his mom asked me to make him a quilt featuring his favourite NHL team, The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, like most sports teams, the Penguins colour scheme is a little on the loud side. I wasn’t exactly sure I would be able to come up with something that wouldn’t pop the eyes out of a snake, but i figured the kid wasn’t going to be too concerned about the quilt being garish, as long as it had the Penguins on it. turns out i was right. ha!

PEN169 pp3mustkona-black-2

i was able to find some Penguins cotton fabric at Unfortunately, they wouldn’t ship it to Canada. (no idea why not). Superquilter to the rescue!!! A quilting friend lives right at the border and has a U.S. address, so she very kindly agreed to pick up the parcel, pay the taxes, and ship it to me. I was very grateful as i could not find the fabric anywhere else. It cost a fortune, but it was worth it!

I wanted something simple, yet not boring. I played with several ideas, but decided a basket weave look would play nice with the fabrics. i decided to split the block borders with the black and yellow because I was worried that if I used all black it would be too dark, and if i used all yellow it would be too bright. In hindsight, plain black probably would have been the better choice.


I was also asked to incorporate a tshirt and two jerseys into the quilt. I figured out my block sizes based on how large i was able to cut the shirt panels. They were all a little different, so I used the largest as my base and added borders to the other blocks to bring them up to size.

DSC02083The fabric is directional (meaning there is an obvious up and down, so i used one fabric for the horizontal, and one for the vertical. I used the plaid Penguin flannel for the backing, and polydown batting so it wouldn’t be so heavy. I quilted it with an all over meander, and outlined the Penguins logo on the jersey block as it was much to thick to quilt through. It is a very busy quilt, but I know that the recipient is thrilled with it.



late yesterday afternoon, i got the devastating news that sweet jesse james passed on.

jesse james
How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts. – Dorothy Furguson

goodnight, sweet prince

oh baby!

a few months ago, a lovely young woman sent me a message on facebook asking if i could make a quilt for her baby. she wanted it to be gender neutral with bright colours. as the months passed, she had some issues with her pregnancy and as a result found out the sex of the baby.


i pulled a selection of fabrics that i thought would be suitable for a hip and modern baby boy.


I had been playing with a couple of different ideas for layouts, but hadn’t quite decided what i want to do. mama wanted to have “baby clayton” appliquéd onto the quilt, so i knew i needed to have some negative space in order to do that. i finally settled on half rectangle triangle blocks as a starting point. i played around on eq5 quite a bit until i had something i liked.


this was my first layout and i was all excited until i realized that i needed my hrt’s going in both directions. me being me, i had cut all of the hrt’s the same way, so this wasn’t going to work. back to the drawing board (or computer in this case)


thought this layout might work, but it didn’t leave me any negative space for the appliqué. try again.


then i tried this layout. i thought it would look ok, but after laying the blocks out i thought it was a too busy with all of the different prints. also, i wasn’t thrilled with the idea of breaking up the chevron to put the appliqué on.

in the end, plain and simple won out.


i was a little leery at first, but once i started assembling into rows i LOVED IT!! i inserted a 5 inch row of solid white for the appliquéd letters. i fused the letters on and did a small zigzag stitch around each one to secure them. i used a cozy flannel for the backing and quilted it using white thread in the dewdrops panto from urban elementz.


i bound it with my favourite stripes from connecting threads. hubby thought the binding was a little too much, but thats what i loved about it. i love to have something unexpected in my quilts and the binding is a great place to play!


the mama had quite a surprise a couple of weeks ago. she ended up being rushed into the hospital and delivered a strong and handsome little boy several weeks early. Jesse James Clayton was born on April 12 2015. as he was so early, he is still in the nicu, but he is healthy and growing! congratulations to the new parents! your beautiful son will bring you immeasurable joy!


Life gets in the way

It’s been an interesting time here lately.  Hockey finally wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, so that has meant a little more free time. However, my sweet man had an accident at work and broke both of his wrists, so i have been playing nursemaid as the poor guy can’t dress or bathe himself. We are settling into a routine now, but it will be a long road before he’s healed. As a result, i haven’t had much time to quilt. I have a fairly substantial list of projects to complete so i had better get on it.

I do want to share a quilt i finished for a dear friend. Cathy has been a friend of the family for many, many years. She is a sweet, kind, loving person, and i am proud to call her my friend. Cathy asked me if i would make a quilt for her mom, so of course i said yes.


i had this Arkansas Crossroads quilt top completed some time ago, and when i showed it to Cathy, she said it was perfect. i added some borders and quilted it up for her. I made the top using batik scraps and a consistent background fabric to tie it together. I had a hard time trying to find a border fabric that pulled all of the colours i used, but i found one that i liked well enough.


I used a khaki coloured polyester thread to stitch the swirl ‘n twirl pantograph and i’m pleased with how it turned out. Cathy assured me that her mom would love it and i guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it?



so, i know that i’ve made mention of my issues with procrastination and a busy life in previous posts. this one takes the cake!


meet Alex’s quilt. Alex’s lovely mom, Diana, asked me to make this for her son almost 8 months ago. 8. months. i am so embarrassed to admit that. it took me about a week of planning to come up with an idea, and another week to track down all of the fabrics, and then three more weeks for it all to arrive. then, of course, i miscalculated for the blue fabric and had to reorder. by this time, the crunch was on for the fall trade show deadline and i just couldn’t get back to it. then hockey, and various Christmas commitments kept me away. Diana has been very gracious and hasn’t given me a hard time at all! thanks friend!


i finally finished yesterday, but  i couldn’t get outside to take pictures until today. it was miserably cold (-30c) today, so you’ll have to make do with two crappy photos. as i was walking out to the fence with the quilt, i tripped on a chunk of ice and did a face plant into the snow. i put my hands out to break my fall, but since i was sans mittens, my hands were FREEZING as i tried to get the quilt up and get some snaps. i gave up after two.

the centre is a panel, and i pieced the checkered border with 1.75″ black and white squares. the pinwheels measured 14″ finished. it’s a little dicey just winging it sometimes. i really need to come up with a plan before i start. maybe then i won’t have to reorder fabric so often. who am i kidding? i love ordering fabic!!!

so far, i have two things crossed off my list of 21. yay me!! i’m back at it tomorrow!



i have FINALLY completed the three table runners my friend, Karen, asked me to make for christmas gifts. yes, i am aware that it is several weeks past christmas, but THIS time it wasn’t my fault. my lovely lucey broke down just before we were set to leave on our cross country trek, and i wasn’t able to diagnose the problem or do anything to fix it until we got home in january. thankfully, it turned out to be a minor repair, and she is now humming along once more.

i was given creative license, and a general idea of colours and size, so i had some fun with these. karen requested batik fabrics, one in plums, one with a seascape feel, and one that looked like the pasture in summer.

012for the plum, i tried out my new-to-me sizzix big shot pro machine with the 5″ charm square die. it took a bit of fiddling to get the machine cutting just right, but i am really pleased with the result. i laid out the squares on point and added deep plum setting triangles. the original plan was to leave the ends of the runner pointed, but Karen requested a rectangle, so i added the corners. i used superior magnifico thread in crocus and the windy day panto from lorien quilting, and then bound it in the same deep plum.



for the seascape runner, i chose blues and aquas, and settled on an off white/yellow/pale blue/grey batik for the stars. i wanted the stars to be a little rustic, so when i did the sawtooth star, i made sure the centres of the star points were chopped off by the body of the star. i don’t know if that particular star has a name or not. anyone know? i used magnifico in horizon and the halcyon panto from lorien quilting



for the pasture runner, i again used my sizzix, this time with the 2.5″ strip die.i did simple rail fence blocks, not worrying about value. i tried really hard to keep the same fabrics from touching, but as usual, the harder i try, the more it happens. i did a wide border on the two short sides and bound the runner in the same fabric. i used superior magnifico in songbird, and the ground cover panto by barbara becker.


today was the perfect day to get outside and take some pictures. it was only -7c with lots of sun and a slight breeze. i love the prairies in winter! especially on days like today.

happy 2015!!

well, once again, life got in the way of blogging. i had a very busy couple of months in the run up to christmas. i kind of overbooked myself, quilt-wise, and with hockey and school events added to the mix, i’m surprised i didn’t lose my marbles.

we went to thunder bay to visit my sweetie’s family for the holidays. it was no where near as horrible a trip as i anticipated. by that i mean my children were surprisingly well behaved, and traveled much better than i thought they would. we had a wonderful time, but it’s always nice to sleep in your own bed.

mount mackay

one of the last projects i worked on before we left was a frozen quilt, custom ordered for a little girl for christmas. i wasn’t sure if i would be able to get my hands on a panel, as they are pretty hot right now, but i lucked out! i got the panel in the mail the first week of december. i wasn’t sure what i was going to do, but i knew my client wanted a double sized quilt. once i got the panel, i was able to measure it and start planning out what i was going to do.

i trimmed the panel down so that i could add a couple of plain borders. i wanted to do a border of blocks that looked kind of like snowflakes, so i planned them out with graph paper, and then added borders until i had the correct measurement. i wanted to make the snowflake blocks out of 2 1/2″ strips, so i just played with the math until they fit. then i added more plain borders until it measured 74 x 84. i’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and i think they were too.


the fabrics i used were from connecting threads. i used ‘lotta dots’ in sangria, ocean mist, violet, azure, and sweet pink for the snowflake blocks, and winter flakes for the background. for the borders, i used ‘swirls’ in imperial blue, and winter flakes. for the backing, i used the leftover blocks and pieced them in with the frozen character fabric. i quilted it with the ‘windy day‘ panto from urban elementz, and essential pro thread in silver.


now that i’m home, it’s back to the grind. i’ve sat down and made a list of all of the projects i have committed myself to, and it’s already 15 items long. eep!!! i also want to make a list of my ufo’s and chip away at them this year. i know i have more than 30 flimsies made, just waiting to be quilted, so it should be a whopper of a list. i’m thinking if i post it here, i’ll be slightly more accountable. slightly.

edit: i’ve been meaning to post how i came up with the snowflake block. i was following along with Bonnie Hunter’s Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. she came out with step 2 at the beginning of december, and that’s when inspiration struck! i sat down with some graph paper and sketched out the double diamond unit. it wasn’t quite what i was looking for, but after playing for a bit, i found what i was looking for. thanks so much, Bonnie!!!


Sew Sisters Blog

Blogathon Canada, put on by one of my FAVOURITE online fabric sources, Sew Sisters, is happening this week, and today is hosted by two wonderful bloggers from my neck of the woods! Heather of Peace.Love.Quilt. from Saskatoon SK, and Lori of Night Owl Quilting & Dye Works from Dauphin MB. If you have stopped by to have a look, welcome!!! I’m so pleased to have you here!

I have been sewing forever! I started when i was 10 (with my mommy’s help) and did garment sewing for years. I had always wanted to quilt, but had no idea where to start. When i was in my early 20’s, i received a mail order card for a quilting book with a bonus of a rotary cutter (hilariously small) and a crappy cutting mat (tiny and definitely NOT self healing). Thus began my journey. I was a woman possessed. I bought quilting magazines and fabric every chance i got. Not knowing any better, the very first project i tackled was a miniature shoofly quilt. It was horrible, but i was hooked! I have dabbled in many other crafts over the years (crochet, knitting, cross stitch, needlepoint, painting) but quilting is the one that feeds my soul. I am fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive partner, who goes out of his way to encourage my creativity. He has always gone above and beyond for me, even insisting that I have a longarm machine. I know, right? He’s a keeper!

I started my blog a couple of years ago, but sadly, i let it fall my the wayside for many months. I have been trying to post regularly, but life keeps getting in the way. Some days i find it a struggle to come up with anything to post. I need to remind myself that I blog for me and I need to enjoy the process.

Please have a look around and say hi! I’m tickled that you stopped by!

Lost month

Somewhere along the line, I lost an entire month. Not sure how, but since it’s been a month since my last post, it’s definitely gone. I have been busy with trade shows every weekend since the end of October, and yesterday was the last of them. I was not terrifically successful, but I did sell a couple of larger pieces, several small items, and I got a couple of side jobs as well, so overall I’m pretty pleased.

I have also been very busy trying to complete several Christmas projects. A friend’s aunt passed away last year, and her daughter (my friends cousin) asked if I could do memorial quilts for her daughters for Christmas. Of course, I was glad to help out. She sent a large duffle bag full of her mother’s pajamas, and I’ve been able to get three good sized lap quilts out of them. As most of the pajamas are knit fabrics, I treated them as I would a t-shirt quilt, and backed them all with fusible interfacing before I cut out the blocks. I bordered each block on two sides with purple fabric to tie everything together, and assembled them into a woven rectangle pattern. I’m pretty happy with how they are turning out.


I’ve also been hired to make a Frozen quilt for a little girl, and three table runners for a friend of mine. I also have a couple of projects to quilt for customers before Christmas. I had better get to it!! I fully admit to being a procrastinator, but I would rather not give myself grey hair if I can avoid it.