Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Ducks Ass

I've long loved using the saying, "That's the cats ass!", when something is particularly pleasing. My recent adventures with Voodoo Duck have now changed my wording ever so slightly...the addition of this button to his butt just makes me giggle. The button was part of the MMQG swag bag goodies and it needed to live somewhere. Appropriate, no?

Quilting never ranks high on my list of summertime priorities but there has been some action in my sewing corner over the last month or so. I made a couple Gallery Tunics for myself, finished up the skull quilt flimsy and whipped up a second Star Bright baby flimsy for our upcoming quilt show raffle prize. The Skull quilt is from a book by Boo Davis but I chose to alter/round out the corners of the skull & jaw and I used random width strips in the background piecing. Close inspection of the skull quilt reveals a couple carefully placed fabrics in the mouth...seemed fitting to have crowns on my teeth.  The ducks ass, right?

The biggest excitement was the smallest finish: a mini-mini that was made to swap with the MMQG peeps...super cute, I hated to part with it. A little bit of free piecing together with some applique and a wee pieced binding...also the ducks ass.

Remember when I took my mental health road trip with Daisy and tagged along with the Jeepers? I wanted so badly to go to parts unknown with them but couldn't because Daisy is a city Jeep. Well...not anymore. She's on her way to the darkside. I had her lifted and am currently working toward making the big $$ decision on new wheels and tires. I've been creeping the Facebook wall of the Nova Scotia Jeep Club for some time now and finally got brave enough to go out and meet some of them in person. (Great folks by the way!) We participated in our first Jeep run with the club on Canada Day. We crawled through mud, over rocks and crept our way through trails so tight that the branches tickled her sides and tree trunks barely passed by her mirrors without kissing. The happy trails took us back to the shoreline at the Bay of Fundy. Remember when I showed you Halls Harbour? Well, were pretty close to there. So. Much. Fun. It was the ducks ass.

Oh. And there's been big progress on that damn tee shirt quilt I was commissioned to do. My avoidance was shelved yesterday and I forced myself to get the top together. I lugged all my stuff to Adriennes over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts to spend the day stitching and bitching with her...and can you believe that I forgot to pack my Pfaffs foot pedal? Stunned-as-me-arse, I tell ya! So I commandeered her ole faithful Kenmore into service and with a little help from Voodoo Duck and Charlie Dog, I managed to come home with a completed flimsy...well, it may get a border. And though I'm not a huge tee shirt quilt fan, I must say this one is...you guessed it...the ducks ass.

Tonight we're partying with The Stanfields right around the corner from here...how cool is that? One of my favourite bands in my neighbour's garage! And, to make a good thing even better, I found a great new addition to the Jack lineup last week that'll be certain to make my evening full of good-duck-assery.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

And The Winner is...

DENA!!! Squee!! It's yours!

I was so excited that the lil number pickin' gadget picked a MMQG guild mate I almost christened Izzy with a mouthful of brown holy water. She wouldn't have minded, she likes coffee.

Make sure you pop in to see Cathy over at Sane, Crazy and Crumby Quilting for the next stop on the Build-A-Barn blog hop!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Barn There, Raised That...

Let's see...what else came out of my Secret Society of Barn Builders adventures?

Well, last fall I took part in a swap with my guild and made a pretty cool quilt for my lil friend Linda that was modeled after her families fish store in Prospect, Nova Scotia.  I'll share the process pictures here again but won't rehash all the details about it because I blogged about it in this blog post that tells the whole story...it was a very special momento for my pal and she got a little misty. It was so hard not to spill the beans about the book at that time! Knowing how much she would love this made the building of it so much more exciting...sometimes the connection is the really special part of a gift like this.

In the picture above you can notice that I made the door on the left really short. Why? I have no idea...it's not like the folks of Prospect are all little people...I guess I was just not really paying attention. Linda recently consoled me after one of my seemingly frequent stunned-as-me-arse moments by saying, "Don't worry, at least you're cute!" When I noticed my mistake, I just added on a chunk to the bottom and made it bigger. That's the beauty of free piecing! Add more on, take some off...do what makes your heart sing!

This building is just a bit fancier than the 2 that went to Julie for the gallery...this one has more dimension as it's not viewed straight on. For Ale was only marginally more challenging to build...I just had to consider the angles of the left side so that the perspective would be right. I am still loving the fabric choices with the bird laden sky and the fish infused water under the wonky wharf stays (that's local wharf rat speak for poles). Here in our oceanside villages the gulls are a dime a dozen, they are ever-present. The fish? Not so much...but it is still pretty commonplace to look down over the side of a wharf into the water and see some pollock swimming around.

And then at Christmastime the SSOBB decided to do a Secret Santa Swap, I got paired up with Julie. I'm so over-the-top busy in December with hairdoos that she graciously agreed to do our little exchange after the holidays. So right after, I got to work building her something special.

My regular readers by now have a pretty good idea that I am typically unimpressed with the amount of snow fall we've had the past few years; I have come to call this fair province Snova Scotia and am admittedly jealous of Julies less than frigid, open winters in Tennessee. So, I just knew I had to send her some snow...

I did a little scrounge through my stash, because at that time The Stashpocalypse had come upon me and I wasn't fabric shopping. I found lots of treasures and potential bits and pieces kicking around to put into play. With these in hand and a rough sketch on the table I was off!

See that little angled empty area under the door? It was a big gap left in my free picing fury. When I stepped back to take a break I decided I didn't really want to cut off the bottom of the building so I very carefully set in the ramp piece...measure twice (don't forget to account for your seam allowances), cut once! Those Y-seams are sometimes tricky but if you're careful you can put them in lickety-split.

In another of my stunned-as-me-arse moments I penned the date on the label 2015. I suppose the whole swap started then so that's why my "cute" lil brain defaulted to 2015...but I made this thing start to finish in 2016 and by the time I noticed my blunder I couldn't exactly scratch it out. (*Sigh... Sorry Julie.) Maybe one day I'll be not-quite-so-cute...but what then? Just stunned? Dog help me.

Free pieced barns and letters...what could be better?

I thought she'd be able to use it with her seasonal decorations on a table somewhere, but she liked it enough to hang it in the cozy spot where she does her writing.

How about you? Have we inspired you to attempt building a barn of your very own yet? Let me know with a comment below about a barn that might have tickled your fancy enough to give this barn building gig a go and I'll enter your name in a random draw to win a signed copy of the book so you can get started!

Leave a comment before the morning of June 19th to be included...I'll draw for it while I'm partaking in my weekly, bleary eyed Sunday morning ritual of brown holy water, a lap full of springy things and Johnny Cash on the airwaves.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Building Barns Sefton Style.

Seemed like this date was an eternity away when Julie slotted me in for my turn on the Build-A-Barn blog hop but suddenly it's here all up in my face demanding my attention and some time at the computer; mid June already...geez, time flies.

Speaking of time whizzing by, that's how it feels to me when I look back over the last year & a half I spent being part of the Secret Society of Barn Builders. When I got the email from Julie on Christmas Day of 2014 inviting me to come along on this journey it was pretty exciting. (It was also pretty good for my ego but the fact that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone about it kept my head from exploding and my feet on the ground.)

I free pieced two barns for the Build-A-Barn gallery. The first one was modeled after a little fish store in Rose Bay, Nova Scotia and like so many of the old stages and shacks it's gone now. It saddens me to no end to see these old buildings lost to time.

I started with a rough sketch and a fabric pull; even though The Stashpocalypse wasn't even a blip on my fabric hoarding radar back then I was happy to have lots of choices already in my stash to chose from.

Then with help from the design notes Julie sent along for our use I made the windows, door and the body of the building. Then came the roof and the landscape. I thought it needed some granite (this IS Nova Scotia afterall!) and of course some ocean.

When Chris Ballard quilted this one she added in some great details...like for example, the stove pipe chimney I forgot to add during my piecing frenzy but was too lazy to revisit with a seam ripper once I realized it. She did a great job giving life to the piece, the quilting took my design to a whole new level.

The second piece was an imaginative barn, The Purple Post Ranch. I'm not sure if I sketched this one or not, if I did I didn't take a photo of the sketch. A trip to Avonport Discount Fabrics in the Valley yielded some great fresh fabrics to add to my stashed bits for this piece.

The day The Enabler and I went fabric shopping it was a total retail therapy day as I had whacked my index finger a couple days earlier with my rotary cutter making free pieced fishes. I remember gazing at this wintery barn out the window while we were eating lunch thinking it would make a great jumping off place for a snowy farm scene but I couldn't share my thoughts. I had a tonne of fun with the building of this barn...minus the wounded finger, of course. It's ended up a bit of a statement piece, I suppose, in so many ways.

 The tractors came off of some old John Deer fabric that had been kicking around in my stash since Not-So-Little PurpleBoots was a Little Tractor Lovin' PurpleBoots...everything was JD green round here for a  l-o-n-g  time. It turned out to be perfect for this project. I used the cow and tractor inside the barn door on the right side but it was too light really to depict the shadows of a typically dark barn interior...so I coloured it with pencil crayons to deepen the shadows, and then heat set it with a hot iron.

The lady in the blue dress driving the giant tractor? Well...what Julie was too polite to tell you in the write up on the books blog was that everytime I looked at her I saw a gutsy, hardworking country girl flipping her finger to the boys in the barn...."Look at me! I can do anything!"  I'm a little like that I guess...gutsy, outspoken, a bit defiant. She resonated with me on some level. If you look carefully at the process pictures you'll see that I did some colour touching up on and around the skyline of her square too...her sky had a yellow tone that wasn't present in the other blues of my sky fabrics so I blended some yellows in here and there as well with my trusty pencils. Hindsight being what it is, I probably could've rubbed in a little more.

And the purple posts? Why not! I don't have to tell any of my regular readers how much I love purple. Way back in my early free piecing adventures I was able to build a Purple Cow so it stands to reason that  somewhere there should be a farm with purple fencing, right?

Oh...and the words? Pretty self explanatory, right? I free pieced those on to complete my social statement before I knew that Julie wanted both barns. In the beginning, I thought I was just sending one barn for the gallery. There is a big movement here in Nova Scotia that is trying to encourage people to support small farms, to think about sustainability and to preserve a way of life.

I decided to applique the Buy Local sign to the side of the barn as it isn't at all uncommon to see big advertising signs and billboards stuck up on otherwise bare walls. I recall memories of driving past a certain barn on the way to Malagash every summer that has a giant sign proclaiming the date for "The Annual Steer Bbq".  I remember looking into the fields wondering which of the beautiful beasts was going to be the unlucky one. The sign is still there, apparently we've not run out of good beef here yet...sustainability is the key!

Chris worked her magic on this piece too. Just look at the stitching to give the gable of the barn some pizazz and the details on the barn doors are just right!

These two hangings, along with the gallery works of all my fellow SSOBB's  are going to hang in at least 3 public shows beginning in the fall: AQS Chattanooga: Sept 14-17, 2016,  AQS Des Moines: Oct 5-8, 2016,  and at the annual Davies Manor Quilt Show in Memphis: Nov 4-6, 2016.

Since I've got the whole week to share my Build-A-Barn adventures with you later in the week I'll show you a couple more projects that were inspired by my SSOBB experience.

Oh...and I almost forgot...
There'll be a signed copy of the Build-A-Barn book to give away so stay tuned!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Flour Sack Fun

A large, heavy woven cloth flour sack that exclaimed Ben's Top Patent Enriched appeared a long, long time ago on the Facebook page for The Reclaimed Cottage in Brookfield, NS. You know I had to have it with Not-So-Little PurpleBoots being a "Ben" and all. Without even seeing it I sent my cousin in to grab it one day on her way to work in Truro fearing I would miss out on it if I waited to find the time to go get it myself; Brookfield is a bit of a hike from here. If memory serves, I think I paid 35 bucks for it.

Once at home close inspection revealed a good sized tear in the back, but it was in decent shape otherwise...it had some minimal staining, some ancient crusted flour was still present on the inside but it was definitely a score in the "vintage find department" as far as I was concerned. With no real purpose in mind though, it was laundered and joined the big pile of "stuff-I'll-find-a-use-for-someday" in the closet of doom.

Long before the flour sack came home to roost I had purchased a couple 20" down filled pillow inserts at IKEA on a road trip to Ontario in 2013. These got stuffed in the cupboard that holds (some of) my stash in the sewing room. Pillows never make the top of my priority list despite Sister PurpleBoots constant attempts to encourage me. She LOVES cushions.

Clearly the stars aligned today and these 3 objects of good intent became a midday project.

The flour sack required some imaginative repairs. There were a few holes that I "darned" with a fancy honeycomb stitch on my Pfaff and the long tear got stabilized with a patch on the underside and a couple rounds of stitching, both straight and of the darning variety. Those weak spots aren't going anywhere now! Because I liked the look of the soft tattered fibers surrounding the tear I've left them there...my pillows, my preference.

I cut the big text block out first (19" squares were the sacks limit), which left the small text at the bottom of the bag too short, so I just tacked on some off the back to make it big enough. I inserted the zippers with plackets that hide them...so simple to do but look amazingly complicated, I know. One of the zipper plackets even showcases the original top hem of the bag...I just couldn't bear to cut off that beatiful heavy stitching.

How flippin' adorable are these? I am in love...and guess what? I don't even like throw pillows! (surprise, surprise.)

All this fun for a couple hours work AND I am happy to have reclaimed some space in that tall cupboard. The Stashpocalypse isn't dead. Those 2 pillow forms left quite a dent. Kinda makes up for all that shopping I've done, doesn't it?