wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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More Retreat Goodies

You would be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic setting for a quilting getaway than at a lodge situated above this view.

The truth is, most of us had little time to look up. We were so busy looking down at our sewing machines.

Here are some of the end results of the quilts made at the retreat. The challenge was to use only fabric from scraps of materials in our stash. Here is one flimsy in the works, laid out in front of the huge fireplace.

A closer look will show you the challenge that the quilter probably faced in trying to get squares and triangles into a heart shape.

Not satisfied to merely sew scraps together, this quilter found a more complicated design and used mainly blue scraps with a few other colours for highlights. The border of tiny triangles gives me a headache just thinking about the work involved in sewing it.

Strips sewn into squares, in a variation of log cabin style — lots of thought went into the design and placement of these colours and squares.

Only a little bit of material left over? Why not make a table runner?

Making up the layers of the quilt: The backing material is taped to the table. Then the batting is laid over top, always brushing it smooth to get out any wrinkles. At last the flimsy is laid over top and clamped down, starting at one end, smoothing it, and adding another clamp and another as the wrinkles are smoothed out. Then comes the job of pinning it through all three layers to keep it them in place. See the pins (like safety pins) already in place on the side of the quilt that is hanging down? Only then does the quilting begin.

Some half-finished quilts are hung up to inspire us.

More quilts, and an apron.

After four days of sewing, most of us got plenty of work done, with only a bit of finishing up to do at home. Great camaraderie among the quilters makes these trips a lot of fun.


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The Bag Lady’s Scrap Quilt

Just back from a four-day quilting retreat, I have to show off what I accomplished.

The challenge this year was to make a quilt from old scraps. I got the top (the flimsy) done except for a bit of border trim. Once I get that done, it will be time to put some batting and backing onto it and start quilting to hold the sandwich of flimsy, batting, and backing together.

I had pre-cut fabric for making bags last year, in case I ran out of things to sew. The first bag I made this weekend was the light green one with strips of dark green. It had been a while since I made a bag and I forgot to put pockets on the inside of the lining of the green bag. So I guess it can be a book bag or something like that.

The others all have pockets in them. The smallest bag has a Japanese design in the center; the other side has a different design on it.

Here it is again, turned the other way, so you can see the back. It’s also a Japanese theme but this time a floral design. The bag is a bit narrow, but one of the quilters suggested it would be practical for bringing a bottle of wine if invited out for dinner.

The next post will have some of the work done by other quilters at the retreat.

If you’re still in a Valentine’s Day mood, it’s not too late to check out my website for more about my books. They are all about love and drama, three on the west coast of British Columbia (The Wind Weeps, Reckoning Tide, Marlie), more love and drama on the Baja Peninsula (Orion’s Gift), and a love triangle in postwar Europe (Julia’s Violinist).

As Adam Sandler said in one of his movies, “Love, love, love.”

Find out more at http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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Daffy Dolls

After weeks and weeks of cold, sunless days of wind, rain, and even some snow, is it any wonder we get desperate as we anticipate spring weather?

I was unreasonably happy when I noticed these daffodil leaves poking through the winter’s mess.

I’m hoping that by the time it’s Easter, the daffodils will bloom and announce that our winter ordeal is over.

Daffodils are tough. They are among the first flowers to put out feelers to gauge the temperature above that layer of fall leaves.

Can I come out yet?

And is the snow gone?

Will I be frozen

While waiting for dawn?

 

Gather your courage,

My buddies all say,

Be brave together

And we’ll win the day.

 

First we may shiver,

But then you will see,

The sun will shine longer

For you and for me.

 

Set up your blossoms

To open in spring,

Yellow and cheerful

Is just the right thing.

 

We are the bravest

The gutsiest here,

Being the first to bring

Snippets of cheer.

Sooooooooon!

I cheated here and put in a photo of daffodils from another year, but they are the same ones that belong to those green stems in the previous photo.

Daffodils have a special place in my heart. My mother loved flowers and when, as a new Canadian, she learned the name of these flowers, she couldn’t help always mixing up the syllables. To this day I think of them as daffy dolls, her name for them.

Please visit my website if you need more winter reading until spring comes for keeps.

http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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Scraps

Bits and pieces are always left over no matter what project you sew. This year, our quilt guild suggested that we all try to make something out of the many scraps we have accumulated. I thought it was a perfect idea since my sewing room was loaded in “useless” bits of fabric.
Enthusiastically, I started putting the bits together. Hours (or maybe days and weeks) later, I realized what a huge job it would be to make a big quilt out of all these tiny pieces. So I began to think small.

I came up with four placemats made of scraps. Don’t look for perfection. They are only scraps.


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Multi-tasking

I knew I had to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen today so I thought I might as well do two jobs at once. I put some bread dough ingredients in the bread machine, and when the mixing and rising was done, I put the dough into two loaf tins to rise again in a slightly warmed oven.

Then I got busy with these chanterelles the Captain and I had picked the day before.

One of them had grown like a bouquet of flowers.

Another was simply a giant single, so big a piece broke off when we handled it.

I washed the mushrooms in a tub of water, using the spray hose at the sink. Most of the needles and bits of dirt came off easily with the sprayer and I put the chanterelles into a bowl.

As I cut them up, I gave them another check to remove any last bits of forest that had come home with them.

Then I dumped the cut up mushrooms into the frying pan and sauteed them (basically cooking them for a few minutes to get most of the excess moisture out). I did many, many bowlfuls of mushrooms, cutting and cleaning while the previous batch simmered.

I put the cooked mushrooms into a stainless steel bowl and left them to cool before putting them into ziplocs to freeze in small batches.  They’re a great addition to curries, gravy, stir fries, and any number of other dishes.

When the bread dough had risen in the pans, I turned on the oven, and by the time all the mushroom work was done, I was rewarded with two freshly baked loaves of bread.

 


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This ‘Hood is for the Birds

Not meaning to make light of the very real shortage of affordable housing for people, I thought if  birds had any shortage of housing, here is one person’s way of dealing with it and helping them out. This tree with its “decoration” is located in a remote part of Vancouver Island. A handful of people live nearby and while some of them are very creative, all of them love nature. So this tribute to bird life is appreciated and admired by all. Some other objects have crept into a space among the birdhouses, but they don’t look out of place because they are part of the lifestyle there.

*Taken with the Captain’s little Fuji.

Do you see any objects that stand out for you?


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Quilted Aquarium

At last, at last, at last! I’ve finished the fish placemats after working on them for weeks. After sewing strips together to represent the pebbly ocean floor and the sea, I had to cut out shapes for seaweed, rocks, various kinds of imaginary fish, and a few turtles thrown into the mix.

These all had to be ironed on with “Heat and Bond” and then sewn into place with a small blanket stitch.

Then the batting and backing were put on and the quilting began.

Today I finished the binding around the edges.

There is a set of four, with a darker ocean floor, and a set of six with a lighter floor.

Don’t look too closely. There are mistakes all over the place, but after the first blob of gravy drops on the placemats, that won’t matter anymore.