Filling a Vase One Flower At A Time

The first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” is not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be.  No really!  If you take a good look at the pieces, you will see that most of them are very simple shapes and easy to do.  There is just lots of them!!

I have most of the leaves prepped and glued onto my paper pattern.  This is proving to be a really effecient method because I have not lost a single piece!  DSCN5169

Once a few of the leaves were in place, I started to add the buds and flowers.




These flowers are so dainty and super-simple.  I love them!


Now, it’s time to add the teensy, tiny yellow centre.



Very dainty!


So, now it’s just a matter of adding each flower…one at a time…until you have a vase full of lovely flowers!




I am now going to make a pot of tea.  I have lots of stitching to do!


Til next time….



Let’s Celebrate!!

I love it when a plan comes together!  In my last post I explained how I was trying really hard to stay organized, which is actually very difficult for me.  But my plan is working better than I hoped it would and I want to share it with you!

As I prep each piece, I glue it onto a copy of the paper pattern.


I started out pinning each piece in place but soon realized I was going to run out of pins, and, more importantly, the pattern was pinned to the ironing board and I couldn’t move it.  So I started to use a glue stick and, now, life is good!  I can now move the pattern!

So, once I have enough pieces prepped to complete a section, I am ready to transfer the pieces to the background.  In reality, I could wait until the whole entire border is prepped before glueing the pieces onto the background, but I can’t wait that long!

So, I unstick the pattern piece from the pattern.  This is the point that I remove the freezer paper template.  By leaving in it, I can identify it (each piece has its own number…sort of like a paint by number picture).  The other reason I leave it in is just to keep it stable.


I add a few dots of glue…


….and then pop it in place.  Then I added a few more leaves and a bias stem….


…and a few more leaves and another bias stem…and Voila!  Easy peasy!


This pattern piece scares me.  There is very little seam allowance in between the leaf and the stem.


Let me show you how I really feel.  scared-lady

So this is what I do.  I take my magic wand and…oh… I am pulling your leg!  I take my pencil and just draw a simple line.


Now I can cut out the templates. And now I have two very manageable shapes to prep.  I did the same thing with a horse’s  leg.  Check it out here.




Now I am very happy and I want to tell everyone how easy it is!

image of woaman on phone

And then celebrate!!


Til next time…..


Focused and Organized

After a week of procrastinating, I have finally started the first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” on Saturday.  I traced the whole pattern onto my background, which did not take nearly as long as I anticipated.  I like to use a Clover water-soluble marker when I trace my backgrounds.  The markers come in two sizes…thick tip and thin tip.  I always use the thick tip.  The line is thicker (of course!) and much easier to see!


Next, I made a whole pile of leaves.  Lots and lots of leaves.  The leaves get stitched in place first, and then the bias stem is placed on top of the leaves, so I need to make all of the leaves first .  I am trying my darndest to stay focused and organized all at the same time.



As you can see, each leaf has it’s own number.  And they are actually backwards because when I print my patterns onto the freezer paper, I reverse the pattern.  So…I take each leaf and match it up with the corresponding leaf on the paper pattern.  A little time consuming, so when I have enough leaves to complete a vine, I yell “Bingo!”  It helps to pass the time.


Once the first set of leaves was complete, I  started working on the center vase.  First, I did the cute little curly-cues.  And then the rest of the vase.



Annabelle is coming along quite nicely.  The hexies are mighty small and I am fussy cutting the fabric, so it is taking a bit of time!  I love how the hexies gives just a burst of something a little different!


Til next time….


So….I went shopping!

This is Annabelle…so far.


I have been working on Annabelle between other projects.  The pieces are huge compared to anything else I am working on, so it’s a nice break.


It has an appliqued centre, surrounded by applique borders.  I have chosen to use mainly browns, rusts and golds.  At some point, I have to add some dainty hexie-flowers that are in the borders, as well as the centre.


Each time I made these little hexie flowers out of brown, they just weren’t dainty enough.  So….I looked at my focus fabric, and saw this colour, (circled in red) which I can only describe as “not exactly grey…not exactly blue”.  I think little hexie flowers in this colour would look lovely!


I don’t think I have any fabric this colour.  Even if I do have some, I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for it, so it might be quicker just to go fabric shopping!  So, I went shopping and I found exactly what I was looking for!!  Dainty!


Of course, I found a few more pieces to add to the mix!


Also, I am slowly, but surely making progress on “Circle of Tulips”.


This is a little something I am also working on.  Sometimes I like to sit at my sewing machine and not applique!   I have a large stack of blocks from Barbara Brackman’s “Grandmother’s Choice” Block-of-the-week and it’s time to do something with them.  Barbara has a new Block-of-the Month starting soon, called “Threads of Memory”.   Check it out here.  I made 3 blocks every week, (instead of 1) so I have lots of blocks!  The 16 blocks I chose varied in size a little, so I added corner triangles to all 4 sides of the blocks.



Then I was able to trim them all down to a consistent size (12 1/2″).


This is what I have done so far.  I am making this quilt for Owen, a little boy who has a place in a lot of  hearts.  Owen is just a little over 1 year old so he is still in a crib.  But one day he will be moving to a big boy bed and he will need a quilt.


Til next time……..


Washing my finished block

Once I finished embroidering all the ropes with 2 strands of floss, I was ready to wash my block.  I must mention at this point that I prewash all of my fabric in Synthrapol before I even think of putting it in a quilt.  That way, the fabrics do not run in this washing process.  Why do I wash my blocks?  When I trace my pattern onto the background, I use a Clover water soluble marker and a Frixion marker.  To prep my applique pieces, I use starch and Roxeann’s Glue.  All of that stuff needs to be removed from the block before it can be stitched into a quilt. Oh….and did I mention the cat hair?


It was in a class with Pearl Pereira at the Applique Academy that I learned about washing blocks.  By the way, have you seen Pearl’s new Block of the Month on her website?  It’s called Forever Blooming and it is free!  I have downloaded my patterns and I am raring to get started!  I am also super excited to be attending this years TESAA!  I will be taking classes with Rita Verroca and Sandra Leichner.  Only 42 more sleeps!

So, this is how I wash my block.  First, I check to make sure all the pieces are stitched down.  You really don’t want this to happen!


Oops!  Can you see that I did not stitch all of the bias pieces down?  There are bias strips in between the leaves and they are not stitched yet.


They should look like this.


You only need a clean sink, some mild soap and a block.


First, fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of soap.


Now, place the block in the water.  If this is the first time you are doing this, you are allowed to hold your breath and close your eyes!  I usually let it soak for a couple of hours.  No need to check on it, it’s not going anywhere!


Next, drain the water and rinse the block with clear water.  Gently press some of the water out.  I like to leave the block fairly wet.


I place the block out on a thick towel and smooth it out.  From experience, I have found that leaving the block wet means less wrinkles when the block has finished drying.  I like to pin the corners of the block to the towel, just to keep it as flat as possible.


Once the block is completely dry, I flip it over on the thick towel and press with a hot iron.




Til next time…


I am no sailor!

Although I spent 2 weeks last January on a sailboat, I do not consider myself a sailor!  Almost every afternoon, our Captain and his wife would quiz us about the parts of the sailboat.  We learned what the pulpit is, what the head is used for and what to do when someone yells “Grab the painter!”  So, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually remembered the parts of the sailboat as I stitched the first block of Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.  For those of you who are not familiar with the basic parts of a sailboat, this should help!Sailboat Parts 4The sailboat on the first block is Canada’s own “Bluenose”, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves.  (Makes me proud to be a Canadian!)  Although I prefer the starch and freezer paper method, I decided to do needleturn for the leaves.



Once the wreath was finished, I added the crown.


Now, on to the parts of the sailboat…the masts and boom are really skinny!


So, here is the mast, mainsail, the boom and the jib…


…and all the rest of the parts!  I have only marked the rope lines with a Frixion marker.  I am not sure if I will use 1 or two strands of embroidery floss to stitch them.  I will figure that out tomorrow!


Til next time…