wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Quilted Tote Bag

Last February at the quilting retreat, one of the ladies had made this beautiful tote bag which my friend and I admired a lot. It had two big side pockets, one on each side of the bag.

After the retreat, my friend got right to work and made a bag from the same pattern. The one pictured below is the second one she has made. I admire her for making a second one after I learned how much work it was to make the first.

She encouraged me to make one too, offering her help (which I would definitely need). We had two sewing days at her house and I was still slow-poking along, but with her help through the hard parts, I managed to finish the bag (below).

For buttons I used the ones the Captain made for me about 43 years ago from deer antlers he had found. Since they are purely decorative, it doesn’t matter that they are not uniform in size or shape.

The bag is reinforced with “Soft and Stable” and this batting lives up to its name.

I struggled with sewing this bag and swore I would not make a second one, but now that it’s done and I have more of an idea what I’m doing, I may reconsider this.

Like anything in life, “It’s easy once you know how.”


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Something Fishy

There’s something fishy going on in my house these days. After making a set of eight “fishy” placemats, I felt encouraged by what I learned from the many mistakes I had made.  I decided to try two more, and fix the problems I had before.

I made two major changes.

One:

I cut out the all the pieces and had them ready to place. I ironed “Heat and Bond” on all of them and had them ready to iron onto the background, building the scene with all the characters present at once. In my trial runs, I had done the pieces of fish, rocks, and seaweed, one  at a time. It was so much easier to have all the pieces ready to put into the scene at once.

Two:

I set my stitch smaller for the applique part where I sewed around the edges of each piece, and matched the thread to the individual pieces rather than using one colour for everything. It’s hard to see the scales on the light blue fish (or any of the others) but if you can enlarge the photo you can see them.


The backing is the same on both.


Take care when using placemats

That have a fishy scene,

The big black grinner prowls around

But tries to look serene.

*

Beware the Dark Invader

Who lurks by every meal,

He has a constant hunger

Yet nothing does appeal.

*

The blue fish is too pretty,

The salmon are too fast,

The tiny little tropicals

Don’t make a meal to last.

*

The starfish are too crunchy,

Their skin is rough and tough,

And all the meat inside them

Is made of gooey stuff.

*

So Darky’s on the lookout 

For tourists diving here

He’d gladly nibble on their toes

Or on their scuba gear.

*

Their underwater camera 

Would fall right from their hands

And Darky could then pick it up

And make his own demands.

*

He’d slip along the hotel pool

Straight to the swim up bar

He’d swap that camera for a drink

And watch them from afar.

*

The fun he’d have inside this place,

The shocking looks he’d get,

He’d frighten daylights out of them

Although he’s just a pet.

*

So when you use the Darky mats

And eat your fancy food,

Be sure to drop some crumbs for him

To maintain his good mood.

***


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Underwater Quilting

No, I didn’t quilt these placemats underwater, but I felt like I was drowning in my work at times. Here are two finished and six not finished placemats I worked on while at the quilting retreat.

I wanted to make up the scenes as I went along, so no two placemats are the same. (The one below is finished except for the binding.)

However, you may notice a reappearance of the dark invader, my Darth Vader fish, in several of the placemats. His job is to see that you don’t eat too much at one sitting.

Miss Prissy Fishy below lets the others know that she has special protection from Darky. Who knows what favours she supplies?

So Darky concentrates on other unearthly looking fish for his supper.

And yet, he must wonder why he has no friends. Look at them scramble to get away.

“Miss Prissy Fishy,” says Pretty Boy, “why are you ignoring me?  See how talented I am. I can touch my toes. And anyway, don’t you know that good things come in small packages?”

“I heard that, Pretty Boy,” bubbles Darky, “but in the case of eat or be eaten, just remember that size matters. Oh dear, now look what I’ve done. I’ve upset Little Blue Wonderfish.”

Disclaimer via Darky: Not responsible for any fish swimming upside down.


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Snowy Quilting Retreat

It was to be four days of quilting without the worry of cooking or cleaning. We would be served all meals and not have to wash dishes or clean house. All we had to do was sew and take breaks to enjoy the beauty of the lodge and its surroundings.

The view from the lodge is breathtaking.

About a two-minute walk from the lodge was the guest house where I had a room. The stairs were cleared, salted, and sanded. Everything was well looked after on the grounds. We congratulated ourselves on braving the snowy driving conditions to arrive at this gorgeous retreat. Only a bit of snow was left.

But on the second night it snowed heavily before warming up in the morning. The snow was perfect for making a snowman — or for someone to take a dive down the stairs.

I stepped out to go to the main lodge for breakfast, and took ten of the twelve steps on my bum. My camera flew over the railing and I bump-bump-bumped all the way down the stairs. Humiliated, I got up and crept around the bottom of the steps to retrieve my camera, luckily in its case. I shook off the shock and took a step to continue on my way. (Imagine this picture with about six inches of fresh snow covering everything.)

Wham! I was on my back again, this time wrenching my shoulder in an effort to catch my fall.

 

For the next two days I sewed and watched others sew beautiful things. My project remains unfinished, although I worked on it steadily. I’ll post it another time. But I can show you a few of the things other quilters made.

Placemats.

More placemats (this one is a work still in progress).

A table runner.

Some unfinished quilts.

 

And a beautiful tote bag with unique side pockets.

In spite of my side trip down the stairs, I had a great time. It was fun and a great learning experience to work with so many talented quilters.

 


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More Placemats

About a year ago I was going to make a big cushion. I had strips sewn together. The pattern called for a paper-pieced design on top of those strips, but somehow I could never find the enthusiasm to get going on it.

One day I got brazen and cut the cushion square into four pieces. These would be the center of my replacement project, a set of placemats. I wanted a minimum of six placemats though, so I sewed a few more strips together and cut them in half to make two more center parts.

I added some filler strips on the sides to make a longer rectangle, and then decided on a border. Triangles in two bands, top and bottom, should add some interest. I hadn’t made triangles in squares for a while, and had to think about it.

Here they are below, right sides together. I drew a line from corner to corner and sewed  a quarter inch from each side of the line, then cut along the line.

Open up and press. That gives you the squares with two triangles shown above.

I sewed the squares together in rows of eight and then sewed the triangle strips to the top and bottom of each placemat.

After putting batting and a backing on the flimsy (top), I did a bit of quilting in the center parts. Then I put binding around it, and voilà, a placemat made of a recycled cushion.

Don’t look too closely. It’s not perfect, but I feel good about having salvaged the remnants of one project, and used up many scraps at the same time.


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The Curse of the Camisoles

My mother-in-law had a box of my novels delivered to her place  while I was away in Montana. When I got home, I got the Captain to collect it and bring it home.

I was looking for scraps of paper to start a fire in the woodstove and noticed some tissue paper on the box of books. Might as well burn that. It would be perfect for starting the kindling.

That evening, m-i-l phoned and said she had sent two camisoles over for me to fix for her.

“Oh? I didn’t see any camisoles,” I told her. 

“They were wrapped in tissue paper.”

A heat wave swept over me, hotter than the fire I had made with the tissue paper. Could I really have burned those camisoles? Wouldn’t I have noticed that something was inside the paper?  I looked all over the house for camisoles wrapped in tissue paper and finally phoned m-i-l back. 

“I must have made a fire with them when I was burning papers. But I don’t know how I wouldn’t have noticed them.”

“Well … they’re very thin …,” she said. “But don’t worry about it.”

About a week later, my m-i-l phoned. “Guess what I found? Wrapped in tissue paper between two blouses in my dresser drawer.” 

We both laughed with relief. She’s nearly 97 and is allowed to have a senior moment now and then. But my laughing stopped short when I realized, Oh no. Now I still have to do the sewing repairs. 

Okay, well bring them over when you come for supper next time. DON’T wrap them in tissue paper. Just throw them into a plastic bag. Then I won’t try to make a fire with them.”

And that is what she did. She put them in a plastic bag and I had them in my hand the day she came over for supper.  I was very busy getting the meal on the table and putting food  away into the fridge.

The next day, the cursed camisoles were nowhere to be found.

I searched the house thoroughly three times from top to bottom. No camisoles anywhere and I had no excuse to have a senior moment.

Two days ago,  I took my m-i-l shopping, and bought her two new camisoles.

This morning, the Captain was making a sandwich and called out to me, “ANNELI! Guess what I found.”

“No idea. What?”

“I was looking for lettuce to put on my sandwich, and you know how you always wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag? Well, just come and see.”

One bag has lettuce in it, and the other has … you guessed it … two camisoles.

And as much as I was relieved to find the cursed things, the next thought that popped into my mind was, Arrrgh…. Now I have to repair them after all.

I have decided to do that, and then quietly put them into m-i-l’s Christmas stocking (wrapped in tissue paper, the way she likes it).


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Place mats

Recently, my nephew got married and I had no idea what to do for a wedding gift. He had been living with his partner (now wife) for several years so they really didn’t need more gifts.

I finally came up with the idea of place mats, because that  you can always use extras or switch them around for a different look.

These are from a pattern called Take Four, probably because it uses four different fabrics and makes four different place mats. I made eight altogether so there are two of each pattern.

For the back of the place mats I used a solid piece of each of the fabrics used on the front, so the place mats are reversible. If you spill something on one side, you can quickly flip it over to use the other side.

It’s not a difficult pattern, but you have to pay attention to the different colour sequences so you will end up with the intended look.

It was a fun project and I thought of the newlyweds a lot as I sewed.

I hope they will always have enough food to serve on these place mats.