My husband and I LOVE bright colours.  We decorate with them whenever we can.  He needs to dress rather subdued in his profession and I always had to as well so one of the best ways for us to express ourselves artistically was in our decorating, yet we still couldn't go over the top as we often had people in our home for professional purposes.    Hence the orange walls!  They are happy walls.  

As much as I love our orange sherbert coloured walls it has made decorating at Christmas a bit of a challenge.  Many of the "Christmas Reds' clashed and instead of being festive just didn't work at all.

Then I Found This Fabric!

Christmas decorations with orange!  I was so happy, it was table cloth material so I bought enough to make two table cloths.  (remember when I said we often had people over--sometimes we need two tables set up and other times people come one night and we have other people the next night so I wanted, no I needed two table cloths)

It's not just enough to find the fabric though, you actually need to hem it to make the table cloths.  So the fabric has sat for three years--I'm embarrassed to say that, yet I will say it anyway.  

Christmas in July was a PERFECT time to make my two table cloths, from this three year old fabric which I bought on sale and matches my walls great!

First thing I did--square up the ends and cut the fabric into two equal portions.  (I know I bought enough for two table cloths plus a bit extra for the squaring up).  

Next I folded up each raw end a 1/2 inch and pinned it in place.  
I never pin--I'm a quilter at heart and with my awesome PFAFF sewing machine with IDT I don't feel a need to pin but this wasn't a quilt, so I pinned.  

After Pinning--I PRESSED!

Yes that right--I pressed!  I believe pressing makes the finished product that much better.  Don't get me wrong, I don't usually iron a lot, in fact when I started quilting my husband walked into the room when I was pressing something and took my picture.  He was amazed--he didn't think I knew what an iron was for.  He has done all of our household ironing.  But I do Press often and regularly when I quilt or do any other fabric, sewing project.
Now--Fold under one more time and press again.
That might not be clear--let me try again, I fold the raw edge under to meet the fold line.  Making a 1/4" fold.  Then I press again.
Once all the pinning, folding and pressing is done, I took it to my machine and using my 1/4 inch foot and matching thread top and bottom I sewed up the ends and was finished!  I love working with fabric meant for table cloths, it's a wider width than I normally use as a quilter, and a bit heavier.  

The Finished Product--It looks Great in my dining room.  

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Table Cloth looks great with orange walls
It looks great in my dining room, maybe I'll have to extend this Christmas in July theme into a real Christmas Party so I can show off all my great creations, in a very humble way of course!
 
 
Here's how it's going to work.  Each day all month longI will be working on a Christmas themed project.  
Some projects will be small 
some will be big
some will be sewing/craft
some will have machine embroidery
some will be quilting related
some will be decorative
some will be useful
IF you have a sewing machine there should be something here for you.  

Christmas themed doesn't necessarily always mean, santa and the grinch--it could be a Christmas gift I want to get out of the way now.  
I'll be using different brands of machines (at least two brands and three or four different machines in the line).
I'll be using different brands of patterns and embroidery designs.
Some I have used before, some will be brand new to me.  
Basically--I'm going to have fun, experiment and hopefully get that head start on Christmas.  

Food=Mess=Apron!

I'm starting my month off with an apron.  It might sound boring to you but I just LOVE aprons.  I don't really wear them most of the time but I love them.  I collect Apron patterns and promise myself I'm going to make one but never seem to get around to it.  I have a great collection of patterns though!

I used to wear an apron a lot more often when I worked out of the house full time and had to rush home to get dinner started, often there wasn't time to even change my clothes so I would don an apron and get right to work.  When I didn't put that apron on I almost always got some kind of stain or mark on a good work outfit.  

I started with a Panel and decided to line it

All that talk about Apron Patterns and I started with a panel!  Yep that's right I took the easy way out and you can too!  There are some great panels out there, reasonably priced.  I picked this one up last year.

To make it a bit more polished than just a panel, I decided to line it with fabric from my stash (not Christmas fabric) so it could be reversible.

It had a pocket so I also made a pocket for the reversible side and lined each pocket as well--it just makes a nicer finish!
Here's what I did--
1.  PRESSED my panel and lining fabric--I shouldn't have to say this but I can't believe how many people skip this stage.
2.  Laid the lining fabric right side up on my cutting table
3.  Laid the panel on top of it
4.  Cut the apron, ties and pocket through both layers of fabric (I used a few pins to hold things in spot)
4.  Made the pockets--pinning the pocket and the lining fabric for the pocket right sides together I sewed  using a 1/4" seam all around the pocket--leaving a small space for turning it right side out.  
(the pocket on the reversible side was made using a contrast piece of fabric)

5.  Attach each pocket to the Apron piece it belongs to.  The pockets need to be added before you put everything together.  I used a decorative stitch and also made this pocket into sections.
6.  Next make the ties--Press them once you have turned them right side out.
7.  Attach the ties with pins to the appropriate spots on the apron.  The panel will have markings where they belong. 
8.  Lay the two aprons right sides together with the ties all neatly tucked inside. 
9.  Stitch around the entire apron, again leaving a large enough opening to turn apron right side out.
10.  Turn apron right side out, PRESS carefully and top stitch the opening closed.  
And just like that Christmas Day#1 complete--this could be a gift or perhaps I'll wear it while I sew this month using the pocket for my snips and tape measure etc--you know all that stuff we 'lose' on a regular basis?

the Christmas side of the Panel Apron

The "reversible" side of the apron with contrasting pocket

Don't look at the mess on the floor--I keep a couple of rolls of stabalizer on the floor right behind by sewing desk so it's handy--I guess I'm too lazy to actually open the door and reach it out of the closet :)

Proof it's a reversible apron and not two different  ones!

 
 
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Remember when you were young and time moved so slowly?   The lazy hazy days of summer were wonderful and endless and the only thing you had to worry about is wether you were going to eat your ice-cream cone from the ice-cream down or from the bottom of the pointy cone up.  

Summer officially started just four days ago, here in Ontario, grade schoolers still have a couple of days to go and I realized Christmas is just a mere six months away.  To my five year old grandson that will seem like forever, for me (and likely you) who wants to make at least a few of my gifts that time frame is getting shorter and shorter.  

CHristmas Gifts are already being dropped off at your local longarmer

Perhaps I was in a panic a bit too soon?  No one else would be worried about Christmas yet right?  Just to confirm my suspicion that hobbies make us thing differently about the calendar a friend dropped a quilt off for me to quilt on the long arm.  Yep--you guessed it,  this quilt is actually a Christmas gift for her nephew who has been helping them out around the house a lot lately.  

So with that in mind I am officially launching Christmas in July,  Each day I am going to work on at least one Christmas related project in my studio.  I vow to do at least one quilt block or one other gift per day for the entire month of July.  Some projects will be bigger than others, some will be small and EASILY completed.  Follow along, accept the challenge to join me and share your ideas with me as well.  
 
 
If you were following me on http://quiltsocial.com/author/qs_gail/ a couple of weeks ago then you know I had to make a last minute yet extremely meaningful quilt for the Administrative Assistant from our church.  If truth be known, I knew in the back of my mind for a long time that I was going to make a quilt for this woman.  She IS a special woman.  She was my husbands Admin Assistant for 15 years and that takes some doing let me tell you.  

I started with a Layer cake from MODA--it has a nautical theme and she is going to retire to her hearts love--Cape Breton Island.  I made just a few cuts, put it back together, added a couple of borders and brought it home from vacation.  

When we got home it went onto our frame.

A few hours on the frame and it was ready to trim and bind.  And before any of you ask.  YES!  The binding matched the small inner border--remember I LOVE that pop of colour and the red binding just 'finished' the quilt in a way like nothing else could.  

It was great--but I won't bore you with the details 

I won't bore you with all the details but suffice it to say it was a great day.  I believe we honoured the great service this woman provided to our church for the pas 15 years.  She was presented with 15 roses, one for each year of service.  I gave her a mug with grumpy on it to remind her of all those mornings she worked with my husband who claims to be a morning person but really is not!    Then my husband got to give her the quilt.  She laughed and she cuddled in it right away.

 I like to think that she is having a cup of tea this morning and enjoying the first day of her retirement.  I also want to think she will smile each time she cuddles under this quilt to watch a movie or have a nap.  I know I will miss her.  I love her and most importantly I trusted her, day in and day out in all those special moments with my husband.  I hope she enjoys this next phase of her life.  

linda--enjoying her retirement quilt.  

 
 
Hi Everyone,  did you find me last week over on the QUILTsocial blog?  This is a great site if I do say so myself.  They have guest bloggers on regularly sharing their ideas, reviews and providing inspiration, it's a great way to stay informed about what's happening out there in the world of quilting and get to enjoy a variety of points of view.  You should really check them out.

Last week I blogged about a quilt I needed to make for someone retiring and I got to make it on a new PFAFF Quilt Ambition 2.0 sewing machine.  It was a lot of fun, we were away on a working vacation so I fit it into that busy schedule.  When we got home it went on the frame, got quilted and now we are attaching the last of the border by hand at the same time the quilt label is embroidering out.  

I'll post the finished picture here in a day or two, but in the mean time do a google search for QUILTsocial and/or find them on facebook.  
 
 
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Easter sure snuck up on me this year.  As I scramble to decorate at the last minute and get the house ready for company I realize I don't have an "Easter" quilt.  I have quilts or quilted wallhangings for lots of other holidays and celebrations, Christmas, Valentines Day, Summer, Fall slash Thanksgiving and Halloween.  But where is my Easter Quilt?  I love Easter, the lilies, the family gathered, the hint of spring in the air special services at church, and lets not leave out the bunny and chocolate.  Hiding eggs and new clothes for the kids.  I love these traditions and I love making new ones yet somehow I don't have an Easter Quilt.  How did that happen?  Why did that happen.  Well, it's time to fix it.  I am making a plan for an Easter Quilt and while I'm at it I need to think about what other happy celebration I might want a quilt for.  Canada day?  Of Course!  Birthdays?  Why not?  
How about you?  Do you have special quilts either bed, lap or wall hangings for special occasions in your life?  I do know this much, next Easter I will share my new Easter Quilt with you!

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Aren't these shelves just so pretty and organized?  You are thinking, wow, she must be sitting back with her favourite beverage and basking in the organization of her stash.  How lucky she is!  How organized she is!  

The reality is, this picture is OLD I mean a couple of years old, taken when I first got the shelves and yes they were clean and neat and organized.  Then, well, time didn't stand still and they became messier, more crowded, filled with new treasurers and quite frankly it's time to return them to this happy stage.  So in honour of Spring and our tradition spring cleaning I'm going to tackle one shelf per day.  I'm actually looking forward to it, I love to have things neat and tidy around me, I often do a 'cursory' clean up after I complete each project but lately that cursory clean up just isn't enough so I'm going at like my grandma used to, kerchief on head, windows thrown open and will tackle the clutter with the dedication of madwoman.  I will not allow myself to get distracted by that bundle of fat quarters I bought on that shop hop with my friend that I haven't called in a long time so need to call right now!  No I won't let it distract me.  I will organize and make some piles.  Here's what I'm thinking for my piles.
1.  UFO projects that I am actually going to finish
2.  UFO projects that I am likely NOT going to finish--these need to be given away to someone who will finish them. 
3.  Fabric and patterns collected for projects not yet started
4.  General stash fabrics--loving referred to as my collection
5.  Completed projects--the ones I made to learn a new technique or try out a pattern, they weren't made as a gift but why haven't I given them away anyway?  Why are they still hanging around my house not being used and appreciated to their full extent?

Along with the projects I need to do a general inventory, clean up and organization of my notions--the dreaded thread drawer, the wall of rulers and why do I really need more than one rotary cutter in my sewing room?

Do you see a bit of a theme here, when you spring clean you get rid of all the dust and dirt and build up accumulated over the winter.  When I spring clean my sewing room it's time to give some projects new life and a new home.  Wish me luck!

 
 
     It's hard to believe how busy I've been the last few months.  So busy in fact I allowed my computer and writing time to vanish into nothingness.   What a mistake!  I allowed the very thing that keeps me sane, motivated, organized and thinking creatively to come to a grinding halt.  Oh, I had my reasons, mostly I was too busy, something had to drop from my schedule so I let my writing and sigh, yes my exercise stop.  Yet those are the very two things I need to keep going (well along with chocolate and wine that is).  
    I've just returned from vacation, visiting with some of my husbands extended family.  It was a busy time, I got sick and and visited a Dr., got a prescription and started to feel better just in time to come home.  But, I didn't let any of that really stop me for long.  I got to visit some great quilt shops, met a fabric designer, visited a store that sells nothing but buttons and came home with a whole new perspective on coffee and quilting.  
    I'll post pictures soon and update you on my adventures abroad and here at home.  Right now, I hear my name being called by three weeks worth of laundry.  I also need to pay some attention to my studio, the long arm looks lonely without a quilt loaded and the embroidery machine looks sad without a project working away.  My brain is fuzzy and jet lagged so today I'll just fondly great my machines, plug them back in and maybe even put away some of my purchases.  Today I write, clean and organize.  Tomorrow I'll tackle the rest of the list.
     It's always good to get away and see new things but it's always great to come home too. 

 
 
A very amazing group of people busy planning this quilt show for over two years.  It is always crazy busy just before the show,  you know how it goes.  You can do lots of planning and scheduling ahead of time but as the big event gets closer and closer there are all those little details to check and check again, to change,to twig a bit, to create a new plan.  BUT all that being said, this quilt show is going to be GREAT!
here's what you can expect-
  • over 230 quilts --with a chance for you to vote for your favourites
  • friendly volunteers
  • great fresh food in the tea room
  • a variety of vendors 
  • a guild boutique
  • demos every thirty minutes
  • a tombola (penny sale)
  • a bright and clean facility
  • accessible and lots of FREE parking

What's stopping you?  Be sure to stop in for a visit, you won't be disappointed.
 
 
It's been 10 months since I posted....and a lot, I mean a lot has happened in that 10 months to keep me off line.  But I've missed posting, I've missed you so it's time for CHANGE!  I've recommitted to a better schedule which should allow me to post regularly.  I also have a goal to update my photo page so you can see all i've been up to behind the scenes.

Here's the quick update from the last 10 months:
-work got crazy busy last fall
-in the crazy busy we also decided to finish the basement and move the studio downstairs
-during renovations my husband broke his leg--it slowed down renovations and moving the studio 
-our daughter-expecting twins got ordered by her doctor to stay off her feet and not work, we tried to help out when we could
-the twins were born-healthy and happy
-I started teaching regularly 
-my husband got hit by a van while out riding his bike this spring
so with all that going on--we just finished out to do list from last November!
-the studio is moved downstairs--pictures soon
-we're making plans and changes and and re-prioritizing our goals and to do lists

thanks for staying patient.  I'll be back real soon and  sharing quilting and machine embroidery projects with you.