Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Getting lots of TLC

Helena doing a little bit of yoga with Emily and Lauren.

My dear sister Helena has once again stepped into the breach. You may remember when my mum took sick two years ago, my Helena spent seven months with me taking care of our dying mother.  Now she is here with me.   She is my cook, my cleaning lady. my driver and my
coach, helping me back to health after a ten week stay in the hospital with a severe infection which settled in my knee.  Ongoing physical therapy at a clinic twice a week, and a number of exercises at home three times a day, will hopefully straighten out my bent leg.

We are having such fun again together, and yesterday we shopped with a 30% off coupon at Value Village and we both made some great purchases.  

We're both anxious to get into the amazing selection of wonderfully embellished ethnic clothing fabric.  She also did a little grandkids shopping.
Helena's creation

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Gift of Life

Yesterday when I was in the car licence bureau, the clerk in the next wicket asked the customer if she wanted to sign the Organ Donor card.    Without thinking, I spoke out: "It's a wonderful thing, I have a donated organ."

Ten years ago both kidneys failed and I went on dialysis.  After waiting three and a half years, I received a kidney.  I would never know which family's sadness was my family's joy.  Donor families remain anonymous.  But it brought to mind the happiness I have experienced since that day.

During those ten years, seven of my eight grandchildren were born.   And because I am the Nana who bakes cakes, in total, probably I baked and decorated over 33 birthday cakes for these children.  

I've travelled many times  - over twenty  times to visit my friend Mo in Florida, five trips to Colorado, Utah and Missouri to the Crazy Quilting Retreats, to Scotland with my mum at aged 92 to visit her remaining sister aged 96, and many family visits to Quebec and New York.

Life is precious, treasure every day.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmastime Wedding

The Bride wanted shades of cream and ivory for her wedding cake.  The three cakes were an old family fruitcake recipe and cbaked by the groom's sister.  My friend and cake partner Verdie and I decorated the cakes. 

The cakes in a trial set up just before going in their boxes.

The two bottom cakes are 12" and 8" and together were tremendously heavy.  The 6" top tier will sit on a 3" round of Styrofoam surrounded by gumpaste rosebuds.

Here's a top view of the rosebuds.  I had a couple of tries at the buds.  The first ones I left to dry and when I arranged the buds around the circle they were too far apart.  So I made a set of buds with one, three and three petals while the initial bud shape was still soft, and then cut the bud short and tapered the end so that more rosebuds fitted around.

Here's the rose for the top of the cake, it's 6" diameter.  I kept the rolled petal shape by drying the petals with a small rolled up piece of tinfoil.

The wedding cake at the Reception.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Princesses

My three granddaughters all are of the same opinion - they all love being princesses!  

Brynn, in middle was the actual Birthday Princess, celebrating her 6th birthday in Quebec, with the other two, Lauren and Emily assisting.  

The birthday cake is shown in a previous post and again below.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Name this yarn.....please!

I only have a yard or two of this pink variegated yarn and I'd love to have more, and in different shades, but I don't have a wrapper and can't find any photos online.  Does anyone happen to know this product?

Note added December 16:
I was remiss in not giving Susie Wolfe credit for this beautiful seam from her tree skirt.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

August's Block

Oh my, I'm way behind on the CQJP 2014 Challenge.  This is my eighth block.  

But...this is a 20 block project and there are 12 left to do, so I'm going to do a bock-a-month in 2015.

My aim at the beginning of this project was to drown it in lace, and that worked with couples, ladies and babies, but it wasn't so easy with the boy.  I did find a lovely piece of European lace in Wilmas' stash at the September Retreat.  

I love making bullion flowers with Caron Watercolours thread.  It's a 12 which is thin, but the variegations are just lovely.

This unusual bit of metal flower has been in my stash forever.  It was the perfect centrepiece for this button cluster

I have this cheapo dollar store ruler with lovely scallops that I use in nearly every project.  Here's one example.


The last of the birthdays was on the weekend.  Grandson Josh was Superman for Thanksgiving, so that was the theme for his birthday cake.

Again I used Ruth Rickey's method to make the skyscrapers.

Superman was colour-flo and the cake was fun to make.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Birthdays etc.

Between October 15 and December 5th, four of my grandchildren have birthdays.  Which means during that time I am either thinking about cakes or making them. 

Caleb and Brynn live in Quebec and I have previously made the trip by train for their birthdays in October.  This year I didn't go, but the two birthday cakes did along with my two daughters and their families.  

Brynn is in the everything- princess stage so I couldn't go wrong with a Princess Elsa from Frozen theme.  Caleb has always been about cars and my son suggested a smash-em-up derby.

I chose to use a ready made princess instead of trying to model one.  The castle I made using Ruth Rickey's method that I learned in a class last summer with her.

I built up the side of Caleb's cake to make a hill, piled the three Matchbox cars in a heap on the chocolate racetrack, and tipped the fourth car down the embankment.

Elijah's birthday came next and my daughter suggested something from the Lego Movie.

At my cake partner Verdie's, we have been busy too.  Here's a pretty order of cupcakes:

On the sewing end of things I finished a flannelette rag quilt for my youngest grandson Sammy (forgot to take a photo), and another pincushion teacup for the owner of the quilt store that I teach at.  I think that this is my favourite one so far.

Love the little feet on this.  I made little dangly bits so that they would hang in between the violets on the cup.

One of the seams that I like is the cretan.  In between the threads I stacked different piles of sequins.  The idea for this came from a photo frame I bought at a Fair Trade shop.

A small section of the frame.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CQ Teacups

I have been teaching crazy quilting at our local quilting store, Art of Fabric, for two years, one class a month, in four monthly sessions.  I have a couple of students that have been with me from the beginning, and are now beginning their 25th class!  We've been through, piecing and all it entails, masses of embroidery stitches, lots of silk ribbon embroidery, some brazillian, some stump work, sequin flowers, bead clusters, zipper flowers, etc., and as you can imagine it was becoming a stretch each month to find something new and interesting, especially as each is three hours long. 

This session everyone is making a tea cup pincushion.  Above are a couple that I made as samples for the class.

Rainbow strip quilt

I made this single bed quilt for our Seniors' Club Bazaar.  It was a design I saw on Pinterest, and I really liked the pastel rainbow pattern of three strips each of pink, lilac, blue, green yellow and peach.  We have a good supply of cotton fabric so I knew I would have plenty of choice. 

I made each strip separately using the flip and sew method and then joined the strips together.  The outside binding is the same white as the sashing, but it's about 3" wide compared to inside sashing of 1".  To keep the outside batting in place I sewed a button beside each set of three strips in the same colour. 

The Bazaar was last Saturday and was the second prize.  The winner was one of older members, 101 and delightful.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Couple of Schemers

Here's a nice photo of the girls I received after I did this post.

It was my birthday celebration early in September.  Here I am with two of my granddaughters wearing dresses that their mums wore in the '70s! 

And here's a photo of Suzie with the pink dress.  It was graduation day from Nursery School.  She was about 4.

After we had finished dinner and strawberry shortcake for my birthday cake we all settled down in the family room.  

The two girls ran in from the kitchen full of giggles
and said "we've found the cake", giggle, giggle!  
We ignored them and after it happened again,  
Susie went to the kitchen to check them out, 
there they were pulling out the strawberries from 
the remains of the Shortcake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

August's CQJP 2014 Block

This year's CQI Retreat was super.  The largest group so far in the seven years this has been running.  I think about 26 or so ladies, many that I had met before and were already friends, and lots of new crazy quilters to get to know.  The Retreat was from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday morning, and it's amazing how much we did in that small amount of time.  The organizing ladies did a super job. Elizabeth from the Kansas City area, and Cathy K. and 
Gerry H from Colorado made it happen - thanks!!  

Rather than take a mountain of projects and embellishments, I travelled with only two of the CQJP blocks, July and August.  I finished the August one, and here it is:

August's CQJP2014 Block
My sister Helena
If you look extra closely, I still have a few tiny Charlottes to go around the photograph, I actually ran out of them, even to looking between the couch cushions!


Monday, September 8, 2014

CQJP 2014 August's Naked Block

CQJP 2014: August - Helena
I'm stretching the truth a lot when I say this is a naked block.  It's actually full of wonderful Indian bead, sequins,  and gold work embroidery.  

Helena is my younger sister.  We didn't grow up as good friends possibly because of the few year's age difference and probably because I was a bit of a bossy big sister.  

Last year when we spent seven months together looking after our mum, we had an amazing time, mainly messing around with all the ethnic fabrics that abound in Toronto.

Helena discovered my stash of saris and other well embellished garments, and set about creating wonderful fabric montages, all of which she named.  I think the total number was a bit over 200.

So to celebrate our sisterly friendship I created a bejewelled block.  I'll still add more to it, and especially to the lacey pieces as I am still mindful of Gerry K's lesson in using lace and embellishments to the max!

I am off the the CQ Retreat in Kansas City on Wednesday and this block will be the one I work on during "stitching time". 

Friday, August 15, 2014

This summer has sped by!  Here we know that it is nearly over when our CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) is only days away.  It ends on Labour Day and then school starts.  

It's a few weeks since I posted last, and I have a bit of making up to do for sure.  

My son, Neil and family made the annual trip to Toronto on the weekend that a surprise birthday party was planned for his sister, Heather.  It was great fun, with 24 of us sitting at two huge round tables, selecting various delicious Chinese dishes spinning around the lazy susan in the middle.    Of course I made a cake.


 We arranged to meet the next day at the Ferry Docks for a trip to Centre Island, one of a series of small islands in Lake Ontario about one kilometre south of Toronto.  It has become one of the favourites of the kids because of "Centreville" an area of smaller rides.  An all-day family pass is reasonable and allows everyone unlimited rides, and we always take snacks and a lunch picnic.  

Heather & Lauren on the Teacup ride.

Suzie, Jack and Emily on the train ride

Heather and Lauren on the train
Josh, Caleb and Elijah

All 8 grandchildren: Josh, Brynn, Emily, Lauren, Elijah (standing) Jack with baby Samuel and Caleb!

Neil, Lee Ann and nephew Samuel
The day always ends with ice cream for all the cousins!

It was a wonderful to have my three kids, their partners and all the children together at the same time.  

My little seahorse

I'm very easily side-tracked, and my latest detour has been a little beaded seahorse.  

I wrote instructions as I went along and after three or four tries with different beads and sequins, this is the final little guy.  

If you are interested, check him out on e-bay.