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Saturday Groove-Gardening Has Begun :)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

This is the big project for this entire Saturday. I will begin hand forking over this previous veggie garden not care for in several years. It appears to have lots of irrigation systems in place and is a depth of nearly 18 inches before hitting rocky gravel.

 Earlier this week, I was taking a spin out to Ladysmith and saw these beautiful swans wintering over in a farmer's field. They surely noticed me stop on the main highway to take this shot. 

I have completely hand quilted both table runners for the late wedding gift and that's shared in a later post.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I've really fallen in love with altering clothing by upcycling t-shirts and shirts so far into a new dress or top. My hubby purchased this locally produced t-shirt for me and it was just a little not quite right for fitting and I loved its message. I started by cutting off the bottom of the t-shirt and sewing on part of a cotton skirt I had kicking around.

I have been dieing try out my own version of t-shirt hand stitching and used the top portion of the t-shirt for the backside of the hand embroidery running stitch around the shape. 

I am wearing it these days every day, so t-shirt season has begun! Yeah! Its been cool at night but warming up quite nicely these past few nights. Spring has arrived in full force in the Cowichian Valley of Vancouver Island. I realized I'm an Islander now. No longer a Northerner.

I have begun my first foray into Bonsai tree training with this hand harvested Oak twig with some roots in the hillside around here.

Its a special garden, I feel very blessed that I have this much perrenial growth to work with on my #Saturdaygardening day.

The photo below is the view from the deck in September last year when we moved in.

This is what it looks like before we've begun really cleaning up the whole back yard and planting fruit trees and berries.  This is looking down a small cooley at the back of our home. Its a nice large chunk of green space that is wild and a lovely break for all the nieghbors.

I have had little time for quilting of late. All projects are making progress and that's the most important part of my life lately, busy.  But isn't so true that if you want something done, ask a busy person? 

Today my goal is to begin slow digging and weeding of the new fruit garden. Raspberries and strawberries are going in here soon!

What is your garden like? What season are your in? I know that I have many followers who reside in North America, Europe and Asia.

My 2nd Wedding Table Runner is now complete. I tried something different with this table runner, I hand quilted the vertical seams and machine quilted the two horizontal seams, binding will happen this weekend too.

Have a fabulous weekend!

#500- A Crazy Quilting Give Away!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I upcycled all sorts of fabric into my "Beach House Crazy Quilt" and it was selected for the 2013 Quilt Market "Oh, Canada" exhibition in Houston and LA.
When I began this blog back in 2007, I wanted to educate about reusing cloth, now called "Upcycling" of all types of fabrics that we didn't normally see in quilts. I love the to play with color, texture and style. But believe it or not, but in 2007, I struggled to have anyone see anything I wrote about upcycling and I did have to make the concession to including more new fabric.

This gorgeous table runner sports Dresden Plates handmade from scraps of all ages of printing, some as far back as 1980. These scrappy Dresden Plates sit on a light blue background which is new organic 100% cotton while the backing is upcycled curtain material.

Myrtle and I made matching bags from a pattern she purchased and it was so much fun!

And so as you read this most auspicious post, start thinking about the color pallet you'd choose and if you are the winner of this giveaway, I will do my best to make your 4 crazy blocks in your choice.

Most of the fabrics of a vintage age was gifted to me by someone who knew I loved to upcycle on more than one occasion I'd come home to find a bag on my doorstep of vintage scraps and fabric from days long gone. I am grateful for these gifts.

I even made a legal sized flag of our Canadian Flag. I made it according the legal size of a true blue Canadian Flag.

And then I gave it away to Nathan Cullen, our favorite politician and it sits inside his office at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario.

I didn't realize that the quilt below that I named "Round Lake Cabin Quilt" was actually bordering on a thing called Modern Quilts.

I used the labels of clothing in this award winning quilt of mine from 2004. Its entitled "Silver Linings Crazy Quilt" I won the lap frame for hand quilting that I treasure to this day.

The blue plaid and brown plaid fabrics that are going into my new bedroom quilt are reused from shirts gifted to me. These quilt blocks have gone into my newest king size quilt for our bed. Read about it here.

Which over time evolved into the quilt layout below. Slowly but surely, I am finishing up projects and after moving back and forth and now permanently, I am allowed the comfort to take my time.

I made my first crazy quilt back in 1994.

But found that I was a little before my time. I had no idea of Modern Quilts and was far too busy with my business and home schooling to notice. I moved along.

I do love hand embroidery, so making crazy quilts became my first love of quilting.

I began a process of making my crazy quilts in a totally different way.

Stretching your boundaries gives flight to your dreams. This photo above is one of the many that I'm assembling for an actual real art gallery showing. More on that later.

I like to grow my own veggies and was always a closet writer, so blogging was a convenient way to express one's views, ideas and join others in this beautiful textile conversation.

What have I learned by this blogging anyway?

I am pushed to become a better blogger and quilter by sharing what is important to me as I while away the days of my life. I have become more interested in thread painting as you can see from my portrait of Sir Alfred Smithers below. If you are really interested to know more about this process, please click here.

And the finished Smithers Centennial Quilt 2013. This quilt had a deadline that pushed my back to extremes and it had to be done.

And moving right along, I got really excited in 2015, having decided to write a book! I am still writing this book. Who know when it will be finished. But its happening.

I set off like I usually do with the enthusiasm of a teenager, with the mind of a 40's something and a body of a 57 year old who's already had one total knee replacement. But two years ago, I decided that getting more exercise and watching what I ate are simply a more practical way to get healthier!

More on this little weight loss topic later, but you might like to read the actual post that included my Crazy Quilting Tutorial.

As you'll see by following this blog, I am a completely-over-the-top CrAzY QuIlTeR!

I love the freeform style of crazy quilting and because I love to USE UP what I have around, these minute pieces eventually find a home in one of my numerous crazy quilts.

I don't prefer to use rotary cutters in my cutting my fabric chunks for crazy quilts, but I love the various styles immerging online, so who knows maybe I'll adapt and find a use for a rotary cutter chunks in my new collection of crazy quilts?

I have grown up as my nimble fingers find a path towards peace and contentment. 

My soul is simply soothed by the act of stitching.

I am stretching my comfort zone. I listen to my heart and go where it wants to and I just smile. I wish people who have stress in their life, picked up stitching of some sort. Its simply so good for a person, never mind that you don't become as experienced as I am, its simply a great idea to play with fabric and thread.

In 2016, I made this commission for a client in Alberta who sent me their own photo and emailed me "Can you make this photo into a quilt?" I was honoured and thrilled to have take this next step toward my progress as a Quilt Instructor.

And as I grew and stretched my wings, I became aware of a sweet stitcher from Saskatchewan who stitches Prairie Art in yarn. I'm pretty tickled to be a friend of Monika Kinner Whalen.

And when you visit don't be stingy with your time, she is well worth the extra minute to follow her on Pinterest.

Spreaking of Pinterest!

Please tell me you've begun following my board called Crazy Quilts from the World.

I've been developing workshops to teach my style of crazy quilting and would love to meet up with any other quilters. 

If you are a member of a quilting guild on Vancouver Island, please leave a comment and I'll contact you.

It was a breath of fresh air to leave hand embroidery behind for a nice break and focus on hand applique of the 365 Circles Project.

And then thanks to Quilty Folk who is the orginator of Quilty 365 came into my life and I've loved hand appliquing circles ever since.

As you can see, I simply love the busy-ness of contrast and freeform flow.

I've been stitching away on numerous 6 inch blocks with circles on them, now I have over 367 the last time I counted. They are going into a new quilt, of course.

And most recently I've begun to Upcycle My Clothing.

I hope that you've enjoyed a little look at my progress over writing 500 Good Earth Quilting Blog posts.

And what is even more special, is that I'm giving away Crazy Quilting Blocks.

1. You must agree to a follow up photo of the completed quilt via your blog or in an email to me.

2. If you win, tell me your color pallet and I'll make you "A set of (4) 12" Pre-Sewn Crazy Quilting Blocks" These are the sweetest blocks and all you have to do is sew them into a finished quilt of your own. 

3. You can do hand embroidery or not, but the deal is that must agree to become a follower of mine if you are already not a follower and you must leave me a comment in the color pallette of your choice. Come on be wild, subdued or dark! Just don't leave without telling me your choice in a comment here.

Plus, you know I'll throw in all sorts of special trims I love to use in a crazy quilting block.

 On April 1,  I will pick a winner and it won't be a joke! If you are a no-reply blogger, leave your email address!

Best of Luck, thank you for following me, continuing to support the crazy work I do and be assured I am grateful to share with all of you.

Altering Shirt Dress

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

As the last bit of a chill is hovering over the Cowichian Valley, the ground, plants, trees and birds are just bursting at the warmth of spring to come. Its just not planting weather yet.

I have been enjoying my altered clothing experience! I highly recommend it for anyone who knows how to sew!

The purple/blue plaid shirt purchased from Hudson's Bay store in Victoria shrunk badly after the first wash. I love these colors and wanted to get more use from brand new shirt.
The shirt after washing and hanging to dry was too short.

I didn't want to lose the cowboy shirt rounded front style but I think most of us would prefer a little more belly coverage than this length offered me?

This upcycling adventure was not the first altered clothing I had done since in my late teens. I learned upcycling from a German trained tailor while living part time on Long Beach before it was a National Park.

I was quite dissapointed when I took this shirt out of the washer. I shook the shirt wet against the laundry room air in hopes of NOT realizing my worse dream for this favorite newly purchased shirt. But there it was, a shirt that shrunk in cold water in the washing machine!

This was the last straw and so the frustration of buying new tops that shrank badly became another step in my development of an handmade textile art. I hand embroidered my jeans back in the 1970's and soon friends began to pay me money to meander embroidery across their jeans too! I hand embroidered little wee baby shirts that are somewhere out there. I began taking this obsession with stitching to a whole new level in the late 1990's with crazy quilting.

I love the freedom of playing with how to actually decide what to add or delete in the new piece.

Here in photo above you'll see that I have hand sewn two men's ties onto the front facing. The flimsey facing was almost none existant and required something more to keep the button holes looking nice long term and for the buttons which are going to upcycled as well to fit well into.

From my "Purple Crazy Quilt" that was sold some time ago, you can see that I love the color purple. And if you haven't seen the movie with Ophra Winfrey in it, you should find "The Color Purple."

Its inspiring and sad,  but so meaningful a movie...bring tissues!

AND because I love hand stitching in all my art, why not do more of it on my newly upcycled shirt dress.

I have sewn together random sized chunks into another ruffle for the bottom of this shirt dress. I'm itching to start wearing it. I think its going to be so popular that I might just share it even more than here on my blog.

I just love this telephone print, don't you? I decided to add various improv stitching bits to add to the whole texture of this shirt dress.

I have added satin fabric, all upcycled, to the bits of toile barkcloth, vintage bits and orphaned blocks from hexie projects.

The next post on this shirt dress will be the end of it. I plan on finding some lacey cotton table cloth for the bottom edge that will show poking out from under this last row of ruffles. I also plan on adding pockets to the front and maybe a slim set of straps that I'll tie at the back.

I am loving this so much, I've already started another t-shirt upcycle.

And I've made progress on Mexacali Heat too. Onward I strive to get out from underneath all these tops to finish. Thank you to some very special ladies who I've never met but continue to inspire me, nudge me to get going and encourage me.

Mexacali Heat New Borders

Monday, February 26, 2018

Hi everyone!

I woke up this morning in the Cowichian Valley to a chilly -5 C. I know to my northern friends this is "no big deal" of any real kind of chilly. But to me who craves less cold, its a chill! I was up this Monday morning to the visit my new quilting friends, women of a wide age category, wide experience in all forms of quilting and many that are Canadian Snow Birds.

But none the less, they are now my support for conversations, questions, idea exchange and sharing of our mutual love of quilting! But alas, time is getting away from me again.

Up first is my finished on my dining table from last week. My African Violet Craz Quilt table runner. My husband now affectionately calls it the Black Hole table runner.

Over the weekend, I did get some time to actually get started on the finishing of this Mexacali Heat Quilt.

I have begun making the Nine Patch Blocks for the broders.

As you can see, its coming along. I found that as I cut, sewed and pressed I was happy to be in the moment. I seem to have found something that is organizing my approach to just getting finished all the tops.

I like to rythum of doing. I also did some awesome hand stitching in the technique of Alabama Changin Fashions which I just love and support this business. My post on this t-shirt upcycling project that came together super fast on Friday Afternoon and it was all done by Saturday night.

Best for the week, leave me a comment, I love to read your ideas and thoughts on my work.

Mexacali Heat Progressing onto Borders!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When I first  moved to Telkwa many 14 years ago now, I met up with some wonderful ladies who quilt and I participated with one Round Robin quilt exchange with them. We all met one evening and as we distributed our brown paper bags going around the room and I handed off my quilt to the person on my right and we began.

Each participant's name was entered into a ledger of the event to keep track of who would be the next participant for your starting block.

As I have posted before, I made this quilt top with 5 or 6 other quilters in a Round Robin.

Its a tough project to find and design a finishing border for it because its so "WOW -ish" you know?

It has languished like many others in a bin waiting for me to get on with it! But I didn't due to life getting in the way of quilting.

Well I've made some progress on this quilt, in the form of a graph paper design for a border. More on that later.

I made this block when I received all the various blocks back to me. This Round Robin, did start out by this block. I called my RR Bag "Mexacali Heat" and I included a little handmade booklet for participants to fill in and tell me how they arrived at their participating block.

 I made this block above and as you notice the absence of the roses/black background fabric. But I did include some upcycled lace into the shape of a dancer. 
This is part of the challenge with doing a Round Robin. Participating is really good for us as quilters because we all have some bias and ways of doing things and participating with a new theme of someone eles choice forces us to rethink ourselves, let go and have fun!

This block used alot of the fabric, but what a fabulous outcome, hand cut, fussy careful work lead to an awesome block.

I think this block is the Mexican Rose maybe?

As these blocks were on my design wall I was busy envisioning what the border would be like?

What would make this already beautiful quilt pop even more. I decided on sashing based on the design including stars in the border. 

I will post more as this one progresses. In the meantime, I have button holes to sew into the front closure of my purple plaid shirt alterations and finishing up the hand quilting on one of the two wedding table runners.

See ya later!

Have fun quilting. Thanks for reading my blog...HUGS!

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs