Friday, December 31, 2021

Best of 2021

It's hart to believe that the end of 2021 is almost here. It was a rough year in many ways but it did help me enjoy more slow stitching and try a couple of new things. It's only by looking back (I'm so grateful for my blog) that I realised what I accomplished.

Slow stitching finishes

My favourite is by far my "After the Storm" piece. I really impressed myself 😊! It was made from a workshop with Jette Clover. The links to all of the posts are in Related links below.

After the Storm

I am still receiving workshops from but have been doing less of them this year than last year. I just can't keep starting new projects, or I'll never get anything finished. I have a few UFOs from the workshops, but not as much as you might think. I'm sure that I'll be going back to these new, interesting workshops when I'm ready (now less than 10 months!) 😊 

I did re-do the eco printing workshop with Caroline Nixon. I didn't want to get if I don't have enough to do! but I did and I love it and want to get good enough to add colour to my eco prints! I am taking Caroline Nixon's online introductory workshop, which has some additional content than the course on I will be doing the course this winter so that I'm ready to take her second, advanced course in the Spring.

The first eco-printed fabric that I stitched

I did have to add a category for the wildest thing that I did this year....couching on a Hosta leaf! 😁 I also discovered so many, another collection!
Bengal thread from Maiwa

Stitching on a Hosta leaf

Doing the #100dayschallenge on Instagram has really helped me do more stitching. I didn't stitch or post every day, but did a lot more than I ever have. I'm looking forward to finishing up my 100 days (I'm at Day 75) and continuing to stitch and post one way or another.

This is a UFO that I finished through the #100dayschallenge. I'm actually more thrilled about the video that I posted on YouTube showing this finished Concertina Book made through Mandy Pattullo's workshop. The link to the YouTube video is below as well as on my blog's sidebar.

Best and Worst of Time

The project the closest to my mending heart is All for One (both versions).

All for One embroidery

I know that the list is long, but I can't leave without mentioning my Traveller's Blanket. This UFO will be finished in 2022!

Traveller's Blanket - coming together

Free Motion Stitching 

My all time favourite FMQ project was finished this year. It's going to it's new home soon (I hope).

An Out of this World Finish 

I also took a virtual workshop with Amanda McCavour. It was a lot of fun working with water soluble products. This one is my favourite flower - an Allium. Now it's part of a larger project that will one day get finished! 😊

Allium made by FMQ on water soluble products

Rose, my Garden Fairy was created for the Fairy Tales Blog Hop.

Meet Rose, my Garden Fairy

Another fun piece also related to the garden is my Garden Fence Art piece.

Made an art piece for my Garden Fence - it's water resistant

I have to mentioning my son's's slowly coming along. It will also be finished in 2022!

My son's quilt - it's going to get done in 2022!

Finally I have two holiday projects that are some of my favourites. The first is the Christmas Tree Wall Hanging made using a version of pojagi.

Christmas Tree Window Hanging

In my post, Surviving the Holidays, I mentioned that you can give quilty IOUs to lower the stress of the holidays. Well, this is the second of two placements. It's now finished and was given to my son's girlfriend yesterday. 

On Instagram, I mentioned that I learned to FMQ ivy leaves from a great tutorial by Happy Quilting. I've included the link below. 
The second placemat - ready to be given!

Learning to FMQ ivy leaves & berries

What I learned

  • It's so gratifying to be able to look back and see what I accomplished last year. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all!
  • I'm finding it difficult to keep track of what I posted on Instagram vs what's on my blog. I'll have to figure that out if I want to continue using both media.
  • I am grateful to all of you for taking the time to read or even glance at my blog. It's so nice to be connected to such a group of amazing quilters, artists and all-round wonderful people 😊

Related links

Linking parties
Thank you so much to Cheryl at Meadow Mist for hosting this great tradition! Best of 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Christmas Tree Window Hanging

I've just finished a genuine Squirrel! Saw the project online, found the pattern maker, bought the pattern December 12 and finished it today, December 28! Getting a whole project done that quickly is not something I do often 😊  

Learning a modern version of Pojagi

In the rabbit hole that is the internet, I found Elizabeth DeCroos. She is an Island Batik Ambassador (which is how I found her). She also has developed some great project patterns and videos about using a modern version of pojagi to make what look like stained glass window hangings. They are absolutely stunning!

Finished Christmas Tree Window Hanging

After some research, I got pretty confused. The terms pojagi and jogakbo are sometimes used interchangeably. Pojagi is a traditional Korean wrapping cloth made from scraps of left-over fabrics. From the Victoria and Albert museum, it sounds like jogakbo is a patchwork pojagi. There were many websites and YouTube videos of some stunning examples of pojagi and jogakbo. I've included a few of these in Related links below.

I took a workshop last year that used translucent fabrics (silk organza) that are sewn by hand to make a light catcher. I never actually made one because the videos were available for a very short time and sewing silk organza by hand seemed beyond me at the time. 

When I found Elizabeth DeCroos' website and saw that she made pojagi using a sewing machine and batik fabric, I was totally intrigued. I bought her Christmas Tree Window Hanging pattern and actually chose my fabrics and started cutting them that same night. 

Fabric cut and half-square triangles made and pieced

I started by watching her Question and Answer video on YouTube, "Getting started making stained glass window hangings (all the FAQs)". This was very informative and gave me the confidence to jump right in. I then watched her "Modern Pojagi Simple Seam Tutorial". From there, I was able to start piecing the half-square triangles and the squares together. Once I had watched her video, I was then able to refer to her pattern to refresh my memory.

Attaching all of the squares together in rows

To attach the rows together, Elizabeth suggests using the "regular pojagi seam". I watched the tutorial and then was able to easily refer to her explanations on the pattern when I managed to forget what I had just done!😊

The finished Christmas Tree Window Hanging using 
modern pojagi simple seams and the regular pojagi seams

I would love to show you what it looks like with the sun streaming through it but it's been cloudy for the last two days. As soon as the sun peaks through, I'll take another picture and add it below!

Hanging in the window

Update: It took a while but here is an image of the Christmas Tree Window Hanging with sun coming through it. Isn't it a beauty?
The sun is shining! 

What I learned
  • This was an easy technique to learn. Elizabeth has other patterns that look more complicated but I really love the simplicity of these squares and half triangles.
  • When I first tried both of the pojagi seam techniques, I followed all of the steps. I used my ¼" ruler to check my seams throughout the whole process. However, after making a few seams, I was able to leave out all of the ironing. Batik holds its fold well and I didn't need to press the seam once I was used to the process.  
  • To make the regular pojagi seam, I used my walking foot for the last stitched part over all of the fabric. It worked wonderfully. 
  • In her first Q&A video, Elizabeth warns us to let go and have fun. The beauty of the work is in it's uniqueness and that perfection is not needed. She says that if we really must have all of the single and double stitched lines together, to have our seam rippers handy. She's totally right and it was great not to worry about these details. In the end, when the hanging is in the window, you don't see the seams. You just see the beauty of the fabrics.
  • Elizabeth also has instructions for the traditional hand stitch used in traditional pojagi. I will probably try that at some point.
  • When I did my research to write this post, I found some amazing art done with the jogakbo or pojagi technique. They are listed below in Related links. They are short and well worth looking at.
Related links
  • Elizabeth DeCroos, Epida Studio
  • Great videos on YouTube of jogakbo, or patchwork pojagi art
    • Pojagi + Beyond: a wintersession course in Korean textiles (2008) YouTube
    • Making Bojagi with Artist Youngmin Lee on YouTube
    • Chunghie Lee: 'Pojagi and Beyond' at the 2009 Festival of Quilts, England YouTube
Linking parties
I'm linking up to Sandra's mmm quilts DrEAMi!

Project details

Christmas Tree Window Hanging
Pattern by Elizabeth DeCroos at Epida Studio
Size: 20" x 19½"
Materials: Batik fabrics
Techniques: Modern pojagi simple seam and Regular pojagi seam

Thursday, December 23, 2021

2022 Planning Party with Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks. Since I'm running behind on absolutely everything, I thought that I would take advantage of this post to also participate in Quilting Jetgirl's very popular and fun Planning Party! 

2021 - A very long year

2021 was the year of Slow Stitching and "Calm" was my word of choice. 

Keep Calm & Stitch

To get ready for this post, I re-read last year's planning post. I'm afraid that almost none of my priorities, which were to quilt my son's quilt and work on my daughter's, happened. I did have a productive slow stitching year and will continue to do so (to stay calm 😊) but my son's quilt needs to get finished!

2022 - Free Motion Quilting

My plan is to get the quilt finished this year. I do have some FMQ done on it and have planned a lot of it out. Now it's a matter of getting it done!!!! 

The corner of the quilt that is done!

Now that my machine is in great shape, you'll be seeing the progress every fortnight on Free Motion Mavericks!

The original quilted design. I'll be following it loosely 😊

2022 - Slow Stitching and Learning

For my sanity and joy, I will continue doing slow stitching. 

Still working on my Traveller's Blanket
Stitching on an eco-printed piece

I have registered for a virtual eco-printing course with Caroline Nixon, the lady who taught us the workshop last winter through My plan is to finish her first course in time to register for her second, much more intense course in the spring. What I really want is to add colour to my eco-printing since if you know me, you know what colour means to me!

Second attempt at Eco-printing was much more successful
Now I need to learn how to keep the colour

I'm sure that things will come up to disrupt my plans, but since I don't have a working crystal ball, this is it! I will be blogging and posting on Instagram since I'm really enjoying both. 

What I learned

  • I wish that I could say that I'm calm right now, but not only is the Free Motion Mavericks' linking party late (not a big deal I know πŸ˜‰), but we haven't even put up our tree yet 😦! Apparently today is the day... So, I'm still working on Calm!
  • I'm learning to minimize the plans...although I do know that my retirement date is set....just 10 months and 3 days that is going to happen one way or another 😎

2022 Planning Party with
Quilting Jetgirl
Related links

Linking parties

I am linking up to Quilting Jetgirl's 2022 Planning Party - Thanks Yvonne! Peacock PartyOff The Wall Friday, Design Wall Monday, 15 Minutes To Stitch 2021

Remember to link up to Free Motion Mavericks before heading out to see what everyone else is up to!

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 361 of Free Motion Mavericks. If anyone has had time to do any FMQ, good for you! I hope that you'll link up! I know that things are very busy right now for everyone, so good luck with whatever quilting and FMQ plans you have.

If you didn't see Donnalee's second Red Birds on Christmas fabric, take time to visit. They are very cute!

Red Birds on Christmas fabric by DonnaleeQ

It's now your turn - and please post even if it's not FMQ!
Merry Christmas /Holidays!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, December 20, 2021

Surviving the Holidays

I hope that you're not too stressed with the holiday preparations. I've been taking some of my advice this year...because not much is ready here 😁 

10 strategies for surviving the holidays 

Do you want to know the secret to surviving the holidays? These are my suggestions. I’m not an expert – except that I have managed to survive 58 of them so far…

BTW I can’t be held responsible if others in your family don’t approve of these great innovative ideas!

Survive and maybe even enjoy the holidays!


This is by far my favourite idea! Hide out in your quilting studio and don’t come out till the holidays are over – or better yet, when spring is in the air, your bulbs are peaking through the snow and the birds are back! 

If you just can’t swing this, negotiate at least one day (or a few hours over a few days) to yourself, in your quilting studio during the holidays. Hopefully that will be enough to energize you for a while.

Hibernate in your studio...for the holidays
or for the entire winter  πŸ˜Š

2. Gift giving - Online shopping

I know....we should be finished by now...but not a chance! 

We’ve all become experts on doing online shopping. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love our local quilt shop, it just means that we have expanded our horizons! The perfect time for online shopping is when all is quiet in the house! If you can’t get to the store across the city during the day, shop online and have it delivered…and if you spent lots and lots of money, they’ll deliver it for free!

Pamper yourself, or others, online
You can even buy locally online

3.  Gift giving - Quilted gifts

I can hear you wondering how this is going to help you survive the holidays since this is possibly one of your major holiday stressors. My innovative idea – give the hardest to-shop-for person a quilty IOU. In a Christmas card or on a large gift tag, write down what their quilted gift will be (keep it general, small and realistic – they may actually expect you to deliver on this!) Then you can shop the Boxing Day sales from the comfort of your home, buy some yummy fabrics for you and to make the gift!

This year, I am following this idea, sort of....I managed to make 2 Christmas placemats but only one of them got quilted before my son and his girlfriend left for the I wrapped the one that was done, and will quilt the other one and send my son a picture of it so that he can share it with her 😊 on Christmas day. I can have it FMQ before Christmas, but not before they left this morning!

The one left to quilt! πŸ˜€

The finished one 😊

Here are some great gift ideas that could easily be delivered later....after Christmas!

Make a set of microwave bowl holders

Quilted baskets are a great gift and don't
need to be Christmas themed

4. Gift giving – Support local crafters, artists and companies

An alternative is to support local quilters. artists or specialty food companies, either online, in stores or through crafts shows. I know of several quilters who have Etsy shops with incredibly well made and reasonably priced quilted gifts and textile art. Don’t procrastinate though cause you’re going to run out of time!

Buy from local quilters on Etsy!
Cheesecakery Bakery - locally made cheesecakes
in a jar πŸ˜‹ Yum!

5.  Decorating

Take out all of your Christmas quilts, runners and wall hangings and call the house decorated! If you really must have a tree, get two or three of your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or neighbour's kids to help decorate the tree. Have them decorate your tree, then feed them holiday sweets and send them home before the sugar rush sets in!

Take out the Christmas quilts!
Take out your home-made holiday decorations

If the tree really needs to go up, get bribe the grand kids to do it!

6a.  Cooking – get invited

Get yourself invited for Christmas dinner somewhere, pick up an amazing desert at your favourite local bakery and a bottle of wine. If you can’t pull this one off, consider cooking less. There are great places that make excellent food that you could buy for parts of your meal.

Buy some locally made food to give or for parts of your meal

6b. Cooking - Try out your festive meal ahead of time

Make sure that the meal that you’re planning for Christmas dinner only includes recipes that you’ve tried before. This year, we practiced our dinner twice on company – so the third time will be a breeze! 

If you’re having people over, when they ask you what they can bring, instead of saying “Oh, don’t worry about it”, seriously consider letting them contribute. If they are really good at making something, give them the pleasure of making and sharing it with everyone.

7.  Sleep in

Even if you can't sleep in every day, give yourself permission to sleep in at least on one or two days.  If you're the type of person who wakes up at 6 am every day, consider getting up to make a coffee and then going back to bed with a great book. Give yourself permission to rest :-)

This Christmas we are dog-sitting my brother's two small dogs. They wake up early but once they've done their business and gotten their treat, they don't mind taking a nap πŸ˜Š

Twix and Taffy going back to sleep!

8. Pamper yourself

What is the one thing that you haven't done in ages that you used to love to do, before kids, work and responsibilities? It could be singing your heart out, dancing, going out with friends for a cup of coffee or tea or maybe even giving yourself a manicure (or better still getting someone else to give you one!) Take the time this holiday season to do something that makes you happy or makes you laugh. You deserve it!

Take it easy and enjoy the holidays!

9. Reach out

The holiday season can be very difficult for people who are grieving or who are lonely. If you can, take some time out of your holiday to call or visit someone who could really use a friend.

Visit those who are lonely or grieving

10. Gratitude

No matter how busy or stressed this holiday season gets, remember that you are blessed with all kinds of wonderful people around you. You are also blessed with this amazing art that makes your soul sing! Be grateful for all that you have.

Gratitude makes everything better :-)

Do you have any other ideas for surviving the holidays? Please share them with us! πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸŽ‰

I wish you all a Christmas / Holiday season filled with love, joy, fun and peace.

Thanks so much for sharing this quilting journey with me. It means a lot to me 😊

Love, AndrΓ©e

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see how other people are coping with the holidays😊 Mosaic Monday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, 15 Minutes to Stitching 2021, Patchwork & Quilts, Oh Scrap!, TGIFF with Anja, Peacock Party, Off The Wall Friday, Tips and Tutorials