Saturday, January 25, 2014

Today's the day: Grow Your Blog 2014!

Hello fellow bloggers! Welcome to Spruce It up Quilting! 

This space was created as a means to record my journey into longarm quilting. 

Crafting is my pastime, sewing is my therapy, and now blogging is my record keeper. Here I share a bit about my life as a wife to a wonderful, patient, supportive husband who has just retired, mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to 1 adorable little boy as well as daughter, sister to 4 incredible women, and aunt to many. Over the years, I have dabbled in watercolors, tole painting, woodworking, costuming, cake baking, scrap booking, card making, photography, stamp making, needle crafting: knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, rug hooking, embroidery and quilting. 

I've quilted off and on since 1978 gifting a lot of quilts to family and friends but since retirement from working outside the home in early 2013, I have become obsessed with quilting. Last spring, I saw an ad for a gently used Gammill Premier Plus from a local quilter who was cleaning out her studio and decided now was the time to finally get all those quilt tops finished. Lolah is her name and with her, I hope to offer my experience as Spruce It Up Longarm Quilting Services. 

We're presently on the move from Southern California, more specifically Tarzana CA, to Port Elgin, New Brunswick, Canada, my husband's home town. I have pre-written and scheduled this post because, the day it broadcasts, I will be busy attending a week-long roster of longarm classes at Road to California Quilt show, learning all I can from fabulous teachers before the move. 

Won't you come join me? Become a follower! I hope to see you soon! And don't forget to link to Vicki's blog where she has a list with links to all the bloggers participating in this party! Sit back, click the links, be inspired, and enjoy the ride! Perhaps you'll find new friends too! I know I plan to.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy vs Sad!

Today marks two milestones in our family, one happy and one sad!

Our youngest son celebrates his 24th birthday! He was an active one running around the house being a ninja with make-believe swords made of cardboard tubes. You were a tough little guy, climbing stairs and tumbling down them just for fun!

The plants didn't stand a chance against the crime fighter.

The puddles always needed testing. At times when we visited your father at the office, you had to wear a tie just like your dad. You played hard and slept soundly.

Your hospital experience is something you'd like to forget but the scars and consequences won't allow that. At 10 yrs old, your little body took it's time to recover but you rose up to that challenge. 

Writing poetry shows your gentle nature; your memory skills are what most people only dream of. You still play hard and you're on top of your game still winning championships. Most people save their trophies... not you! Only the most recent one! Humble? or is it that they take up too much real estate?

We're proud of you Sam... life has not been boring with you! You are a fine young man, a cherished grandson, a wonderful son, a husband now to a beautiful wife, an adored crime-fighting ninja uncle. 

Happy Birthday "Beast"... love mom and dad!

Today also marks the 1st anniversary of my sister Viki's death. This past year has been extremely difficult for all of us but most of all for her Little Waterville (Maine) family! I've blogged about Viki here. We miss you dear sister, think of you everyday and still can't believe you're gone! I'm saying a prayer in your memory.

This January 17th, 2014, I choose to focus on celebrating life in the present, Sam's day. I choose to be happy!

May the sun shine where you are! Hug your family members today! 



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grow Your Blog 2014

Vicki at 2BagsFull is launching her 2nd annual Grow Your Blog party and I want to say Thank You Vicki for allowing me to join a day past the deadline!! I truly didn't know about this event until this morning and I am psyched to participate!

Perhaps you've noticed this new label on the sidebar? If you click it, it will link you up to the original invitation. Since I'm so new to the blogging world, I'm hoping this party will widen my audience and introduce me to new bloggers. I consider this an exciting chance to increase my knowledge of crafts around the world, to visit other parts of the globe, to make new friends, to broaden my interests and most importantly to have fun! 

I must say I've not had much time to spend reading blogs but once this move is underway, and we've hit the road, perhaps I'll have a bit more time. At least we won't be so rushed unpacking as we've been the last several months. 

So please join me and a long list of bloggers on the 25th for this Grow Your Blog event. I plan to become a follower of many and hope you will too.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Did you spot it??

Did you spot the misplaced piece??? I was working on a corner block when my mind registered something wrong... since I use a little glue to tack down the pieces, it was easy to rectify... I had not sewn it down yet. All's well with the block again.

As well, all contingencies on the sale of the house have been removed, albeit 1 week late but with Christmas and New Year in the middle of escrow and super excited buyers, we allowed the extra time. Glad all that is over!.

Road to California is just a week away... my class supplies are packed and ready to go...this week, we'll be finalizing the packing of boxes and our suitcases! 



Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Making time to quilt or hand stitch is of prime importance to me. During one particularly stressful week of negotiations, potential buyer visits/house showings, it was important for me to sit at the machine and just sew. The Downton Abbey quilt resulted in grounding me and keeping me sane. Other projects accomplished the same relaxation.

On a quiet day after Christmas, I found myself alone at home with a whole afternoon free for sewing! I had a few projects in mind...

Peppermint Place needed to take shape! First the birdhouse blocks were trimmed.

Then the corners were sewn together. the applique pieces were all cut out in September; all that was needed was to prep them for appliqueing.

I have since finished the handwork on the top corner blocks. Perhaps I'll get the next 2 corners done before the move but this is questionable. I'm loving this quilt more and more each day... just love those little birds and the colors are delightful!

I received a request from DD no 2 who treated herself to a new camera after Christmas. She didn't like the camera bags available on the market and wondered if I would make her one; something that would fit in her purse, without straps, just something soft to protect the camera. This led me to JoAnns Home Decorator fabric section for these lovely cottons. I purchased 1/2 yd each not really knowing what pattern I would use but confident that it was enough for this purpose.

After a little web surfing, I found this pattern which google "tries" to translate from Italian. The pictures though speak a universal language.

Since the camera had not been delivered yet, I resorted to looking at Amazon photos and getting dimensions of the camera and the lens. Then I decided to first build a paper pattern starting with the cosmetics bag size then changing each piece's dimensions to fit the bag I was making. Sorry, I didn't take any photos of this process... my mind was on the result not the process!

After 2 1/2 hours from the start of paper pattern-making to finish, this is what I had.

The next morning, I got up early to finish the removable foam insert.

 I was sad to have boxed up and stored my serger as I could have cleaned up the inside seam. The seam is zigzagged only. A little seam tape would give it a cleaner look. I was worried my calculations might not be accurate and was afraid the camera might not fit.

The bag is made so the camera body sits in the insert with the lens pointing up. As you can see, it fits beautifully and I have one happy DD!! The bag also closes without problem. 

I absolutely LOVE making bags! I have orders for 2 different sized bags but they will have to wait as the packing frenzy has begun. 

The contingencies on the sale of the house should be removed today. My studio is almost all packed. 

Lolah has a date with the technician who delivered her and set her up. She will be professionally crated and ready when the movers arrive on the 24th. 

In the meantime, I am getting ready for Road to California Quilt show. I've registered for longarm and machine quilting classes everyday starting Jan 20th until the 26th. When Road is done, I will be returning to an empty house, a house we've called home since Valentine's day 2008. We've loved living here but we're thrilled to start a new adventure in Canada, our real home!

Please forgive my absence from the blog... there is much to do in the next 2 weeks as we wind down our California activities and prepare for the road trip across the lower 48! Wish us luck!



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ushering in 2014... but first...

I have some unfinished business! I promised pictures of secret and perhaps not so secret projects. 

I come from a family of 5 girls of which I am no 4; we lost our oldest sister January 2013... this was our first Christmas without her and it'll soon be the first anniversary of her death. I made sure to put her last gifts to us in our tree this year in her honor! She so loved to decorate for the holidays!

You've seen the moose quilt without the binding! It went to my youngest sister. This project spent many years as a UFO but I'm so pleased to have it done and delivered! It hangs on her wall today! 

Another not so secret project was this table runner which went to sister no 3. They painted their kitchen and living room walls in grey and when I saw this kit, I knew who needed to have this one! It graced her holiday table this Christmas season.

The next table runner went to sister no 2 who also loves to decorate. I made it extra special using fabric from one of our father's plaid shirts for the hat brim. You may recognise the fabric with printed words as leftover from the Paws for Santa II quilt. This one held a prominent position on her holiday dining table.

December 28th was a milestone for someone we held dear: my mother-in-law's birthday. She would have been 96 yrs old. She too passed away this year and we all miss her dearly. She was a kind and gentle woman with a big heart who never said anything bad about anyone, saw good in everyone, was devoted to her family and community with her whole heart, and who lived an exemplary spiritual and Christian life. She was a devoted wife, mother to 5 children and grand mother to 14, great grandmother to 7. 

This was our first Christmas without our matriarch! We miss you Mum.

With the sale of the house, and the holidays over, we are now in packing overdrive. Christmas has been dismantled and stored a bit more carefully than usual. Room by room, we are clearing the rest of the shelves and cabinets. We've gotten better at filling the donation boxes although not much is left to donate except for large furniture pieces. 

Lolah has an appointment prior to the movers' arrival... she gets special attention from the local Gammill technician who delivered her to my studio. Stay tuned for the process of preparing her for the move.

As we usher in a new year, we're filled with anticipation and energy to embrace 2014 as a great year for new beginnings. I hope you and yours enjoy a wonderful 2014 in good health, happiness and with many fun projects in the works.

Thank you for being part of my first year of blogging!