It’s in the Bag

Yup it’s as good as done, both the week and my small project I’m sharing today.



I recently found a free pattern for a grocery tote on Cloud 9s’ website and gave it a whirl.

This is a fast and easy, very functional, sewing project. Before I began sewing this up I had come across a blog post that pointed out that the pouch pattern for the bag was not big enough to hold the rolled up grocery tote. I’m sorry that I didn’t save the blogpost because she had some good pictures that illustrated the point. So, being forewarned I made my own pouch and added a handy clip at the same time. I wish I had taken pictures along the way but if you make the pouch you can figure it out too; I used the fabric that is left over in the negative space between the handles of the bag as you are cutting out the pattern. There wasn’t any need to do anything to that fabric, I just straightened out the top edge and sewed the pouch the way you normally do.

As you can see in the above photo, the tote fits into the pouch quite easily !


The bag looks a bit like a tank top here but let me assure you, I won’t be wearing it !

If you’d like to make a similar grocery tote here is a link to the pattern.

Have a nice weekend.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday.





A deeper meaning ?


As I was preparing this post it just occurred to me that there has been a theme developing with my sewing of late… a quick look at my previous post and you’ll see it too.

Plain as day !

It was pure delight sewing up these wagon wheel pincushions from Anna. I love her patterns so much I just ordered her book.


a centre stone  with spokes heading out east, west, north, south…


kind of reminds me of a medicine wheel – symbolic of the never-ending circle of life. It has no beginning and no end.



the calming centre stone and the rhythmic spokes going round.


There is definitely a deeper meaning to why we do what we do. It may not always be obvious. There is an unmistakable pleasure derived in the making whether the deeper meaning bubbles to the surface or not, it’s there.


Jenna Marynowski

I didn’t have to dig deep for the source of pride and pleasure here:

My daughter accepting her companys’ “Award for Excellence”. Hard won and greatly deserved by a smart, talented, hard working, beautiful young woman.

Thanks for dropping by, have a wonderful weekend.

Linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday


Go Bold or Go Home


I finished making my Gardenvale cross blocks early this month and then jiggered around doing just about anything BUT start cutting the setting triangles for the edges. I had bought two different fabrics for these triangles and making the decision of which to use was holding me back. One fabric is light and quiet and the other dark and dramatic. Drama won out, obviously.


Looking at the blocks in black and white helped me make the decision. I think the lighter fabric would have fizzled the rich and bold colours of the blocks. Go bold or go home !

Hopefully I can get this sewn together without too much drama of my own… lets leave all that to the fabric !

This is one of the little things I’ve been jiggering around doing instead of the cross blocks:


Oh yeah, and I want to welcome back to my sewing room; Olie the smart iron.


Olie made his appearance 2 years ago under the christmas tree. Up until early November he had been hard at work when he abruptly made a little fart sound and refused to heat and press again. That was all very disappointing because I know it is a very expensive iron and the warranty was only one year. In my opinion, when a customer pays that much for something the manufacturer should do enough designing to have it last longer than 22 months. The papers that came with him said to take him to a qualified person to fix it. I phoned several appliance repair places and the shop that knew the most about that iron said they weren’t able to get parts. Contacting the company, they made me an offer that I would ship the iron back to them and include $69.00 USD and they would send me a replacement iron with a full year warranty. I really gave that some thought because that is the equivalent of $100 CDN which makes the total investment of well over $300…   for an IRON !!! They agreed to pay shipping both ways – international shipping out of Canada is absolutely nuts. So, 7 weeks later here he is – I had actually given up hope of ever seeing him again the wait was so long. The reason why I was drawn to this iron was because it has a 30 minute shut off feature as opposed to the 8 minute one that all the other irons have. Oh yeah, and the “smart” lift feature – I thought that would be easier on my aching wrists and shoulders. Anyways, I’m happy to have it back but if it goes phfft after the 1 year warranty is up, that’s it, I’m going to kick him to the curb and find a new love !

If anyone else reading this has one of these irons that has lasted longer than 22 months, could you please let me know how old yours is in the comment section up at the top by the date ?

Thanks so much.

linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday.

Blue Jays and Cardinals


Don’t worry, this post is not about baseball teams !

My Mom really likes birds. In all the homes she has lived in there has always been several well stocked bird feeders hanging outside a window. Watching the birds at the feeders is better than TV for her entertainment. So for christmas I made her some paper pieced bird potholders.


The templates are from a book called “Quilter’s ark: more than 50 designs for foundation piecing”, by Margaret Rolfe.


I hope she uses them, she tends to make all sorts of appreciative sounds and then puts them away for “good”. I would be quite happy to go to her house and find that they have been through the wash a few times !

Several of my other potholders left with a friend just before christmas and she emailed that she had hung them in an arrangement on her wall. I guess that is using them but, like the pottery that I used to make – I feel that using a handmade item completes the form/function idea behind good craftsmanship. I remember making a teapot, mugs and tray set for a client once and her telling me when I delivered them that she didn’t intend to use them and was going to display them in her kitchen wall unit. Yikes ! and I spent so much time making sure that my teapots didn’t drip and the handles worked well !

Do you enjoy handmade items more with use or do you use them more to decorate with ?

Thanks for having a look.

I’ll be linking up with Amanda @ CrazyMomQuilts for Finish It Up Friday




This is probably the second easiest quilt I have ever made.* The patches are put together using a tube method and arranged in a stacked coin style. The fabric requirements are just 10 fat quarters and some background fabric. Easy peasy, no ?…Yes ! Why it took me almost a year from start to finish is a mystery.

The backing is all the same print (Exotic Bandana in Sahara) so I didn’t bother taking a shot of the back.

I took these pictures a couple of days ago during less than ideal light conditions. While they certainly aren’t the best pictures we are now experiencing some snowy,cold, cloudy, winter weather. Done is better than perfect 🙂


The fabric is Bijoux by Bari J for Art Gallery fabrics.


I had the longarm quilting done for me and am not particularly happy with it. There  seems to be a lot of puckering within the quilting. My Dad used to say “it’ll all come out in the wash”, hopefully that old saying will hold true once I’ve washed it.

I was lucky to find an Art Gallery fabric that is the exact shade of the darkest brown for the binding, I think it frames the quilt well. The finished quilt measures aprox. 68″ x 70″ and if you are interested in making one  you can see the tutorial here.

Hope 2016 is treating you well so far !

linking up with CrazyMomQuilts for Finish It Up Friday.

*This quilt here is the easiest/fastest I’ve ever made.

Just because.

We are almost a week into the new year and I have several new little wips on the go. What is it about starting a new project that is so enticing ? I’m sure that I will eventually finish up all the old ones – I have recently finished a quilt that I will get some pictures of real soon. But for today – here’s what’s going on in my sewing room:








These butterfly charm squares from Lillyella were so much fun to paper piece. I’m sure there are more in my future ! Maybe even her larger pattern. You’ll find the free patterns here if you’d like to make some of your own. I started these blocks just because the pattern is so pretty. I saw them as a challenge too, so in attempting them I’m improving my paper piecing skills.


This is a table runner that is still hanging around. I did more experimenting with borders after this post. As you can see, I have gone with the KISS solution and simply added more solid. Originally I had imagined adding more print and colour to it. In the end I realized that would have brought the dimensions into something too big to be a table runner and too small to be a table cover. Zzzzz, oh well, at least the practice blocks have been put to use as I don’t think I ever would have made a quilt out of them.


The above picture bears little resemblance to the actual colours of the little block I’m going to be turning into a pincushion. The sun was going down so the lighting conditions were terrible. This simple little pin cushion has been on my to-do list for at least 4 months now. Why wait ? It’s given me so much pleasure to pick through my fabrics and figure out what goes with what. I don’t have an end use in mind – I don’t need another pin cushion, I don’t have a craft show or gifts to ready. The pleasure of ‘making’ is reason enough. So I’m including this picture as a nod to doing whatever I want in my own little stitchy place, just because 🙂

hoping you are finding the time to flex your creative muscles – that’s my exercise plan for 2016,lol.

linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Hi Ho, hi ho….

Happy New Year !

I hope that everyone reading this has had an enjoyable holiday season. We certainly have and now it’s back to work !

The weather has been quite mild the last few days which has made farm work much more enjoyable. Cold weather is hard on both men/women and machinery. What starts and runs easily at above O temps doesn’t always happen at below O temps.

During harvest last fall we experienced several days of rain. In order to keep moving we take it off damp and dry it down later. Storing damp grain in grain bags is a lot safer than in bins because the bags keep it deprived of oxygen and reduce heating and spoiling.


grain bags in our yard

Here we are taking the grain out of the bags in the field. By the time we got the equipment warmed up and in place it was about 9am the sun was just coming up on the horizon and it was a balmy -9 celsius.


The machine that is hooked up to the bag is called an extractor and it has a large auger inside that augers the grain up to that spout, simultaneously cutting the bag and rolling it onto the roller that you can see closest to the tractor. Each bag holds a deceptively large amount of grain, these ones hold 12,000 bushels. To put that in perspective – that’s 3,672,000 bottles of beer*. The extractor is powered by the tractor which moves in reverse as the grain is removed from the bag.


We load the back end of the truck first as it keeps the weight more evenly over the wheels and also is in keeping with the direction that the extractor moves. The truck does have to be moved as it is loaded though.

As you can see, we don’t have a lot of snow yet so it makes the job a lot easier. Once we get a few feet of snow it’ll take a lot longer to get started.



This truck is probably the only Mercedes I will ever drive !


The wildlife are quite curious and can often do a lot of damage to the bags. We set up electric fences around the bags to cut down on the damage but smaller animals can and do get around the fences and chew on the bags.


Once we get the truck filled we take it back to our yard to our drier set up. See the guy on the side of the bin?



That’s hubby popping the spout into the bin. I would have done it but, you know… someone has to take the picture.


O.K., with the spout in place we can begin unloading the truck. The bin on the right is called the wet bin and it is gravity fed into the auger that takes the grain into the red and grey grain drier to the left. The grain drier is heated with propane and has a series of channels inside and a powerful fan that combine to dry the grain. Samples are continuously taken and tested for moisture levels; the drier fan and heat are adjusted as needed. Once the grain passes through the series of channels it is augured out the left side of the drier and up into the dry bin.



This is a shot of the truck as it unloads. The truck box is on a hoist and is gradually lifted as the grain runs out the end gate. Yes, it’s a dusty job, and since this is barley, you want to stay out of the dust whenever possible because it’s itchy !!! The hoist has a remote and so does the end gate so technology has really helped here 🙂

We haven’t started the drier yet in these pictures. Once the drier is started and if the weather is cold you’ll see clouds of steam coming out of the drier. $$$ floating to the sky !! It’s better all around to dry on these good weather days.

I hope to get to the sewing machine today and maybe I’ll have a finish to show you soon !

  • in my research for this post I found there to be a wide variance in the bottles per bushel information. I have used the low figure here.