Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome Summer Vacation


Hi everyone:


Have you noticed me missing? I've been on vacation and just getting back into the swing of things quilt-wise. After school finished at the end of June, my family and I set off on vacation to Orlando, Florida. I know, what were we thinking heading to hot, humid Orlando in the summer? 
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Gardens outside the Japanese pavilion at Epcot Centre
We were thinking about Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, that's what we were thinking, especially about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the potential opening of their newest area, Diagon Alley. 
Heading into Universal Studios, Orlando
View of Hogwarts Castle on the Hogsmeade side of
the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
You see my daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan, having read all of the novels and watched all of the movies many, many times. What could be better after writing grade 12 diploma exams than to take a trip to the closest-you-can-come-to-Hogwarts? So off to Orlando we went!
Entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride on the Hogsmeade side
While we were excited to visit Potterworld (as I call it), we also spent three days at Walt Disney World, visiting all the parks there. I also did a bit of shopping at Downtown Disney one day. We interspersed visits to the two parks (Universal and WDW) with a trip to Kennedy Space Centre and a day to visit a quilt shop and Cocoa Beach. All in all it was a very busy vacation with lots of walking. 
Entrance to Kennedy Space Centre




The real Atlantis space shuttle
The best part of the trip was that we were able to view Diagon Alley and take the Hogwarts Express (train) from Hogsmeade (the older area) to Diagon Alley (the new area) before the grand opening on July 8. 

We were fortunate enough to be at the right end of the park when Universal held their "soft opening" a few days before the official opening date. We were able to ride the Hogwarts Express and even visit the newest area, Diagon Alley, before the official opening date.
Hanging out with the conducer of the Hogwarts Express
Hogwarts Express pulling into Hogsmeade Station before
heading back to King's Cross Station in London (Diagon Alley)
This did not mean that we weren't there for the grand opening on July 8, of course. While we didn't arrive at the park before sunrise as some fans did, we did arrive early and waiting over 90 minutes just to be admitted to Diagon Alley
The dragon atop Gringott's Bank in Diagon Alley - lots of noise and heat!
It was definitely worth it and we marvelled at the attention to detail in every aspect of this part of the park. 
A glimpse at Hogwarts on the Hogsmeade side
We sampled butter beer (both the regular and frozen variety), watched some of the free shows and bought just a few things. It was worth standing in the 35 C weather (which actually felt like 43 C with the humidity) and the butter beer ice cream was certainly welcome. My daughter was thrilled and so pleased that our vacation coincided with the official opening - a date that wasn't released until long after we'd booked the trip. I'm sure she'll remember this trip for many years to come.
Entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade
Some of the colourful candies in Honeyduke's in Hogsmeade
I did manage to fit in a quick visit to one quilt store, The Quilt Place, on the day we visited Cocoa Beach. I managed to pick up a few fabrics even though I was in the store for less than an hour. I could've spent longer in this lovely shop, but unfortunately time - and hot kids - didn't allow for a longer visit. 

Now that I'm back, I'm working on a new on-line video class for Curious.com, which I hope to be shooting in the next few weeks. If you haven't yet checked out my videos on Curious.com, please do so and let me know what you think of the platform. I'm very excited to be working with them and can hardly wait to show you the class videos. 


One more thing: even though I've been away, there have been new videos posting weekly to my Youtube channel. Become a subscriber and you'll be immediately notified when new videos are released. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Craftsy's Creative Escape Flash Sale

Hi everyone:

(This post contains affiliate links which means, I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)
Craftsy

Craftsy's Creative Escape Flash Sale is on now. You can save up to 50% for a limited time only. 

Now is the time to buy those classes that you have on your wish list!

I've recently enrolled in Cut to it: Strategies for Smarter Quilting with Debbie Caffrey and this is one of the classes currently on sale. I'm learning so much from Debbie and there is a wealth of helpful reference materials included in this class as well. 

I've also been working on QAYG (Quilt As You Go) table runner projects after watching the Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags class with Tara Rebman. Of course there are many other classes on sale too, so there is plenty of choice.

QAYG project that will eventually be a table runner
If you're looking for a gift for one of your quilty friends, remember that you can always gift a Craftsy class. There are classes for sale in all categories, not just quilting (although this is my favourite category!) This would be a great opportunity to do so when classes are on sale.

You won't see so many classes with prices this low again soon. Hurry, offer expires July 20th at 11:59pm MT. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gift Quilt Finally Finished

Hi everyone:

Do you have UFO's lurking in your studio? I have a few many of these in my drawers, draped across my not-being-used-at-the-time sewing machine and in boxes. I have so many of these that I sometimes forget that I have a certain project still not completed. While I often feel guilty about my non-completion issues, occasionally it is a good thing - like when you need a gift for someone and one of those UFO's would be perfect for them!

Recently my mother celebrated her 80+ birthday, very close to Mother's Day. So what could be better than a two-for-one? While I did send her flowers for her birthday, she didn't know that there was also a parcel full of quilty goodness on her way to her as well (along with the Mother's Day card that I somehow neglected to send on time).

I had started Hummingbird Sipper many years ago in a class at My Sewing Room in Calgary. It's a beautiful stained glass look pattern by Bear Paw Productions, but it is time consuming to complete. After you appliqué the pieces to the background, every raw edge is finished with fusible bias binding - and then both sides of the binding are stitched down. I worked on this project for quite some time, but then, as usually happens with me, something else caught my eye and Hummingbird Sipper was relegated to a box in my storage area. Until I needed a gift for my mom's birthday. 
Flower detail on Hummingbird Sipper
The appliqué was already done and the fusible binding had been appliquéd to all the edges. Some of the binding around the appliqué edges had been stitched down, but the majority of it still had to be done. So I started on this first. Once the binding edges were all stitched down I had to add a hanging sleeve. That didn't take too long. Then I had to make the binding. That took a bit longer. Then I thought that I really needed to put a label on this quilt. Done! Finally, I had to bind the entire quilt and hand stitch it to the back. This is my least favourite part of quilting, but actually goes quicker than I always think it will. The good part about this project is that it is quilted as you stitch down the binding around the appliqué pieces, so at least I didn't have to quilt it. I might've lost interest again if I had to quilt it on top of all the other parts of the project that I had to complete!
Detail of back showing stitching on both sides of the fusible bias binding
I was pleased with the final project and found it hard to give away, but knew that my mom would appreciate it. 
Hummingbird Sipper completed
There are hummingbirds around my parent's patio in the summer that she enjoys watching and I think that this hummingbird will remind her of the real ones in the cold winter months.
Hummingbird Sipper bird detail