Kim Mclean’s Lollypop Trees Quilt Pattern

Posted October 30, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting

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Many of the current books on appliqué use fancy batiks and prints to emulate a watercolour painting for appliqué flowers. I prefer blobby flowers done from scraps. The last time I tackled a floral appliqué quilt was a Baltimore Album style, but in my own freeform design, 23 years ago for a 50th anniversary gift.

I have liked this Kim Mclean pattern called Lollypop Trees for years. Kim sells her patterns through Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Color web site. I looked in Canada for the pattern and there is one seller offering it for $40 CAD plus shipping and tax. This pattern would cost me $51 CAD. Whoa, that’s quite a price for a pattern. However, it would take me hours of work to draw this up myself, so after thinking about it I used some upcoming Christmas money to buy it.


I’ve done conventional flower appliqués several times but I like to do flower blocks and this seemed charmingly different, plus the size is huge. There is nothing better than huge blobby flowers.

I have so many neat little scraps of fabric that would look great in this. The original quilt and most of the quilts worked up from the pattern use Kaffe Fassett fabric, which is great if you have the money, but I don’t. Upon telling my sister about this, she sent me a bundle of ten Liberty of London fabrics she bought on a recent trip. They are perfect for mixing into this, and I bought four different white on white fabrics for the backgrounds.


A good project for winter, and not too hard on the hands and chronic pain in my arms and back.



Planning to Sew a Simple Afternoon Blouse

Posted October 5, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Sewing

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I just bought the PDF pattern for The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren, and Fabricland had a sale on with craft or quilting cotton for $6 per meter. I bought enough for 3 blouses (1.6 meters each) and a couple of buttons and some thread.

There are two versions of this blouse, one with a straight accent and one with a round accent. I plan to make the straight one first, but one of the others will have the rounded accent.


I’m getting frustrated and down with winter coming on and our house not selling, so I wanted to do something simple to keep busy and I could use some new tops.

These prints are a bit different for me. The middle one is a beautiful dark green with grey swirls, and the others are brighter fuchsia and pale aqua. I’m going to make a muslin first out of plain broadcloth to make sure the fit is right, and then I’ll get going in the good fabrics.

The PDF pattern has 31 pages to print out and tape together. That might take me a while and then I’ll probably trace a size off on tracing paper to use for my test blouse. I’m between two sizes so will have to grade the pattern.


It’s cheered me up quite a bit to have a happy project making something for myself. Normally I wouldn’t fiddle around taping PDF patterns for clothing, as the pieces are generally too numerous to tape, but this was such a cute blouse I decided I could handle it.

And several hours later, I got the patterns taped together and then traced them off while my fabric was prewashing. So I’m ready to go.






More on Cursive Writing and the Loss of Human Independence

Posted October 4, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Creativity, Writing and Journalling

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Liz Chan from Wonder Pens is fighting the good fight for cursive writing, having started a cursive writing class for children. Way to be Liz. The subject has been written up in The Globe and Mail of all places.

Liz has an interesting post on this and a link to the article. Bring back the human mind: for me this goes way deeper than a lack of time to teach it, it’s another way to control what people learn and see, another way to limit them, limit their independent thought. What you get when that happens is people who never question. They don’t question because they have no way of knowing what is happening, no way to learn about issues, no way to compare and contrast and think rationally and independently.

A docile population that doesn’t question or understand things gets a bit scary. Which sounds nutty, but if you look back in history, it reminds me of the illiterate populace of the Middle Ages, who couldn’t read Latin or understand the Latin mass, but went to church anyway and were taught what to believe, having no way to read or write themselves, having no way to question the government or church, no knowledge of arithmetic or higher mathematics, their masters doing it all for them and enslaving their minds and bodies in serfdom.

Oh well, we are much too smart to go there again. Much too smart to give up our choices and personal power and independence. It couldn’t happen here.

Ask someone who bought 150 shoes they rarely wear and are in so much debt they can’t afford housing, ask them if they understand arithmetic. They were taught to buy shoes, to consume without thought, instead of to learn cursive writing.

It starts there – not such a leap after all.






I Finished That Thing from 2011

Posted September 29, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting, Sewing

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I had to sew some borders on a baby quilt, so got my Pfaff machine out and tried to get it working properly. I finally got it settled down after a big adjustment on the bobbin case tension.

Then I thought I’d see how it was working with machine quilting, so took out this project for a sewing machine cover that I started in July 2011. The pattern is from the book Fresh Quilting which you can read about in this post.

I got it pieced and basted but the patchwork seemed a bit lumpy, I quilted it with the walking foot on my Pfaff and it did okay but I got a bit of skewing with the patchwork. Free motion quilting would have worked better in this instance but I can’t get my machine to work for free motion, even after having the machine serviced three times.

I’ve never done a double binding before so I did one on this to practice for the baby quilt I am making and it went fine. I’m not that fussed about this cover for some reason, but it sits nicely on the machine and looks nice and crisp.


The original pattern called for cardboard or illustration board to be quilted into the body of the cover. I thought that was a senseless idea because you could never wash the thing, so I made a sleeve, sewed it to the back, and slipped a piece of illustration board into it. That way it’s removable for washing.


At least it’s done. I think I might investigate buying a Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine. They are supposed to free motion quilt beautifully. I’ve got about fifteen or more quilt tops to finish. I love my Pfaff for piecing and sewing clothes but it’s not good any more for machine quilting.

UPDATE: In the realm of “You just have to laugh!”, I called for a quote on the Juki machine: $1600 plus tax which brings it to $1800 CAD. Way, way, way, way out of my realm of affordability.

I did however buy some Machingers quilting gloves for $9 and I’ll try the walking foot again, and try the free motion quilting again and see if I can solve this and at least get the baby quilt done in time.






Keep Modifying that Planner Until You Collapse

Posted September 18, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , ,

During a protracted bout of insomnia I have been working on this planner page yet again. That’s right, if the melatonin doesn’t work go into Photoshop and do something productive, then print it off and modify it again.

I’ve lost track of how many modifications I did, but after five days of using the original modification (in a prior post), I decided I needed to redo it and then tweak it, and then add colour, and then tweak the kerning on a few letters, and I was done. Maybe.

I bought some cheap new stickers so I stuck some on in relevant places. Cupcake stickers are perhaps not the thing to use in a business environment, but colour is always useful to attract the eye to appropriate areas on the weekly plan. If a sticker has icing you know it’s really important. If it has glitter you had better do what you’re supposed to do or you won’t get the cat sticker on next week’s plan.

Yes, I mean business.

Click to enlarge.


If I find that I have more than twelve things to do or remember, I can spill over into the focus box. My book log has grown wider to facilitate lengths of rumination. I also get a quote for the week as a necessary nudge toward greatness.



A Free Weekly Planner, Modified for My Purposes

Posted September 13, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , ,

I like planners that have blocks in them as I find them easier to read. I also like a bit of room at the bottom for extra notes. I wanted an undated planner to use weekly, particularly now since I have a baby quilt to finish and I’m not getting it done. Doing projects in small increments gets them done!

I found a free planner page online at The Household Planner, and modified it in Photoshop to change the colours which I didn’t like. I left the days of the week in the original font and then changed the title, moved things around, and added a few titles in a font from my computer.

Thus I got what was useful to me, including my water intake for each day, a weekly log of the books I read, and a section for things to focus on so I don’t spin around madly, accomplishing nothing.

Then I put a sticker on the top for visual delight and printed it in Draft mode so the lines were fainter and worked better with my fountain pens, and I put it in a recycled binder (which was brand new.) I used the Staples Sustainable Earth sugarcane paper that works so well with my fountain pens and ink, and away I go for week one.

I’ll try it for a few weeks and modify it further if I find I need to. Click to enlarge.




A Book to Heal Rampant Attachment?

Posted September 12, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

These days, particularly after spending four years repairing and decluttering my house in order to sell it, I prefer to order most books on inter-library loan. I’ve been bothered by the amount of stuff we threw out in the last two months, the sheer volume of useless detritus. This book caught my eye and I bought it because I know I’m going to need a constant reminder of the subject.

I found myself browsing fountain pens and ink online in the past two weeks, just for comfort, but I have five fountain pens and eight bottles of ink, so it made no sense. I use them all every week, but to get more would simply add to the burden, they would not get used. I wanted to explore these desperate feelings of want that crop up.

Join a group on any subject on the Internet and there is a wild chase to buy “all the things,”to buy the adored object, the epitome of cool for that particular month. The latest baffling trend I saw is for a Japanese planner, which is imported and wildly expensive, has nice paper, and looks not much different than the planner that everyone was wild about last year, except it engenders huge import fees and costs about $75 or more and you can get more than one cover and extras and stickers. Everyone HAS to have one.

It’s strange how I can readily pooh-pooh this planner but talk about a new coloured pencil and I feel the pull to buy it. It is a compulsion, I feel it too for various things. We all have our tendencies for adored objects. As well as attachment to things, I get attached to certain kinds of harmful foods, so I thought this book might have some insight on that as well.

Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume edited by Stephanie Kaza.


The blurb for this book says in part:

“At one time or another, most of us have experienced an all-consuming desire for a material object, a desire so strong that it seems like we couldn’t possibly be happy without buying this thing. Yet, when we give in to this impulse, we often find ourselves feeling frustrated and empty. Advertisers, of course, aim to hook us in this way, and, from a global perspective, our tendency to get hooked fuels the rampant over-consumption that is having a devastating impact on the world’s stability and on the environment.

According to the contributors to this unique anthology, Buddhism can shed valuable light on our compulsions to consume. Craving and attachment—how they arise and how to free ourselves of them—are central themes of Buddhist thought. The writings in this volume, most of which have never been previously published, offer fresh perspectives and much-needed correctives to our society’s tendency to believe that having more will make us happier.

Hooked! includes a range of writings on how to apply Buddhist thought and ethics to understand and combat the problem of over-consumption as individuals and collectively.”



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