Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The McGregor Family Christmas Letter

Each year my husband and I write a Christmas letter.  This year I seemed to put it off but not for the reasons you might think.  I am a busy person but that wasn't why... I just felt like I didn't have anything to say.  It came to me one day to include the kids into our letter.  We have done that before and it was fun and honestly very truthful.  Here we go again:

It has been another amazing year – we have so much to be thankful for. 
For this letter, we want to share our favourite things of 2015.

Let’s start with Jean: 
Fast facts:  7 years old; grade two; dances and sings like no one’s watching; favourite activity is playing teacher (Mrs. Simons is her inspiration… this is Jean’s second year with her); Jean is small but mighty!
1.      Her favourite part about being in Florida last winter was playing mini-golf and swimming.   
2.      She loved our trip to Niagara Falls for the dance competition (best part was staying in the big house).
3.      Her favourite part of summer was going camping and especially going in the canoe and taking a big hike at Bon Echo park.
4.      She really loves having a puppy; her name is Lucy and Jean hugs her a lot.
5.      Jean turned 7 years old in November and her birthday party was at Extreme Trampoline. 

Alex: Fast facts:  9 years old, grade four; loves playing hockey, soccer, minecraft… any game!  He has just discovered his love of drawing.
1.      He loved our trip to Florida last winter… visiting alligators and even holding one.
2.      He really enjoyed playing in a ball hockey league last spring.
3.      Alex likes our annual staff party… pizza, KFC, ice cream, playing games outside!
4.      His birthday party was a highlight where they played a big game of soccer!
5.      Our family got a puppy this fall and her name is Lucy. 

Grace: Fast facts:  11 years old (how can that be?); she is our tech-support and probably always will be; loves to bake; is in her 5th year of competitive dancing so I guess you could say she is pretty darn good!
1.      She also loved our trip to Florida this past winter.
2.      She loves being part of the Arnprior School of Dance Competitive Dance Team. This is a very big part of her life.
3.      We travelled to Niagara Falls for a national dance competition… an all-girls trip for a week!
4.      She loved the whole summer!
5.      Grace loves that we have a puppy now.

Ian: Fast facts:  38 years old; looks after our family; works very hard, passionate farmer; loves being a hockey dad but still trying to figure out being a dance dad!
1.      Our vacation to Florida was great… swimming in the ocean, taking an airboat ride through the Everglades and then spending time with his parents at their home in Port Charlotte.
2.      Being fortunate enough to go to 3 Ottawa Senators games: one with Alex, one with friends when Sens were in the playoffs and then this fall with friends (and Alex) in a box.
3.      Having a successful growing season with McGregor’s Produce and cash crop business with Cameron (his brother).
4.      Hosting good friends, Warren and Courtney, from Boston this past summer.
5.      Going to Prince Edward County on a wine tour with “the Mrs.”
6.      Being able to get away on a few weekends with friends camping, 4-wheeling, ice fishing and hunting.
7.      Attending the Ontario Fruit and Veg conference in Niagara Falls
8.      Enjoying a great wedding with family at the Chateau Laurier Hotel.
9.      We welcomed a new nephew in our McGregor family; wee Harvey.

Deb: Fast Facts:  38 years old; looks after the details of our family; trying to make time for her passions (quilting, sewing, blogging); still works part time for family business and loves that!  Maker of many batches of jam! Loves being a hockey and dance mom.
1.      I love our vacations to Florida.  I plan it for months, which is part of the fun.  Taking time to be together as a family of 5 without other distractions is my absolute favourite part of this vacation!  It starts as we drive out the laneway beginning our 23 plus hour drive.  It’s called QUALITY FAMILY TIME.
2.      I was very fortunate to take my girls to their national dance competition in Niagara Falls.  We celebrated Canada Day there as well… 13 girls in one house was a blast!
3.      After a busy summer of working hard, I take the fall as time for ME.  I can devote time to the things I love such as quilting, sewing, blogging, spending more time with friends and taking a couple little trips including a wine tour getaway with Ian and a shopping trip in Toronto with my mom and sister.
4.      I was the driving force behind getting a dog for our family.  I had to be ready to take time to look after her and this fall I decided it was time.  She is our crazy baby! She gets me outside more but our walks together are quite comical… I try not to trip over her too much.
5.      This year our church welcomed back our Minister.  With his assistance we are bringing Sunday School back and I am the coordinator… we want this for our own children but I am actually finding a huge amount of fulfillment from it.  It brings me joy.

It seems like every year becomes more busy and full. Despite that we try to take each day as it comes and feel blessed that we have this life.  It can change in an instant.  We often think of our friends and family that live far from us and even though distance keeps us apart we hope to somehow remain in touch.  Thank goodness for email and social media…

Merry Christmas and wishing you all the happiest of New Years!   

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Handmade Craft Sale

A couple weekends ago I participated in The Goods A Handmade Market; a Christmas craft fair.  It was a last-minute decision for me so I didn't have a lot to sell but I did want to be a part of it.  The products being offered were top-notch, high-quality handmade items and I wanted to be in the same room as these people who were also makers.  The event was also supporting one of our local high school's programs.

It got me thinking that I love working craft sales.  I have decided I want to do more next year.

Here are some photos from my day:

Jean bought these decorated rocks from another vendor (a high school student)... we got a few cute items from others.
One vendor was a 10 year old girl who had baked amazing Christmas cookies.
 She was a firecracker and very friendly; great at promoting herself.
There is NOTHING better to give kids a great experience at making and selling.

Jean was my helper for the morning.  Our weekends are full.  My husband had to take her to dance class and my son to a hockey game before they were able to visit me.  Jean got to stay for the rest of the morning to help me sell.  

Another vendor told me that if I want to participate in craft sales next Christmas season, to start preparing in January!  I guess I know what I will be doing then.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Christmas Project Inspired by FarmGirl Vintage, By Lori Holt

There is something so exciting about learning something new! It's actually quite exhilarating... the process can be daunting, frustrating, all-consuming but once you reach the goal it's like a weight has been lifted and a sense of happiness washes over. I write a blog to share but along the journey I have discovered that it takes up quite a bit of time. I am not a perfectionist but I do have standards and I like to be "in the know" of what is around me. That is probably why I like technology. It is all around us and I want to be a part of it. I have been working at my blog look and functionality for quite a few months now; taking time (some days quite a bit of time) trying to learn ways to make it look pretty and professional. I can honestly say that NOW I am happy with it. That doesn't mean I won't go and tweak this and that but I am now happy with how it works and looks. Cyberspace provides unlimited amounts of information but eventually I need to stop and just let it be for a while. That being said, other than my blog, here is my latest project:

I have been completely and utterly inspired by this book with all of the instagram and blog posts dedicated to the beauty within it:

Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet has created patterns and quilts that call to me... I love her cute patterns, her fabric choices and the beautiful quilt blocks she has created.  I want to make each and every one of her quilt blocks

I just finished this Christmas wall-hanging which included her 6" simple star block within my own design.

I used black and white stripe binding because I love that look.

Right now I am getting ready for a small handmade craft fair in my local community.  I make homemade jam that I will sell but I will also have some Christmas table toppers for sale.  This is a first for me!

Monday, 9 November 2015

My Quilt Block Design is Featured in the Quilter's Planner 2016

This is kinda cool... the quilt block I designed in the summer for Fabri-Quilt's new line of fabric (visit my blog post here to see my block called Square Sky) is featured in this beautiful Quilter's Planner.

 Here is the link to purchase the Quilter's Planner.

I am proud that they liked my quilt block... I received so many positive comments about my clean and simple design.
Congratulations to Stephanie of The Late Night Quilter for her gorgeous work and for creating a planner that is perfect for any quilter!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Labour of... well... Love

I know every quilter has that project that takes a long time.  Probably in reality this one of mine didn't take that long but when it is made as a commission project, it did take too long.  I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about the fabric initially but definitely grew to love it:

The quilt pattern proved to be a challenge as well because I used a pattern from Camilla Roskelley's Simply Retro (which is an absolutely beautiful book of quilt patterns) but I had to tweak it to fit the look we were going for and therefore I felt I wasn't piecing the blocks together as efficiently as I could have.  This is mostly due to my lack of experience...

BUT in the end...

I think it turned out pretty darn good!  I am very proud of this quilt!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Our Newest Addition: Lucy

Last Friday we welcomed our newest addition to our family:  Lucy, our puppy.

Our children have been asking for a puppy for quite some time now but we hesitated because we are a very busy family.  We travel the roads a lot going to dance class, hockey practice and games, meetings and the list goes on.  My husband and I wanted to make sure we were ready for a dog and every now and again our conversation would drift to if our family should get a dog or not.  We live on a farm so it's a great environment for a dog.   We both work from home so we are around during the day and now that our children are older (11, 9 and almost 7 years old) it seems like a really good time for a "baby puppy".  

Now "baby" is the key word here.  Since I am the "mom" in the family, I wanted to make sure I was ready to be up during the night, ready to take the puppy out for regular breaks and train her to not pee and poop in our house or on our lawn near our house (who wants to step in poo?).  

Well I am ready but guess what?  She is so perfect.  She has such a nice personality (calm, sweet, loving) and NO ACCIDENTS in the house... yet!  She sleeps through the night, hasn't chewed very much, doesn't bark very often and is generally a very sweet little dog.  She has been my easiest baby so far!

I think I am in love...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

My "Make It Take It" Bag

I am sewing as much as I possibly can these days... kids are in school, my farm job is pretty much done for the year (until next spring) and Monday to Friday, 8:30-4pm, is my own time.  I do have "jobs" to do though other than sew like laundry (yuck), cleaning (boo), appointments and the list can go on and on (never a dull moment when you live on a farm).

I am "sew" happy this time of year...

I have an ongoing large quilting project but I squeeze in other projects in between (I shouldn't be doing that but I just can't help myself).

Last Friday afternoon I gave myself a treat and signed up for a sewing class at Mad About Patchwork, (just outside of Ottawa, Ontario) my new favourite fabric shop.  The shop is so pretty: pretty fabric, pretty projects, pretty all over the place.

The project for the afternoon was a bag, seen on the cover of this beautiful book by Krista Hennebury, Poppyprint.  This wasn't the first time I have come across her book - she has a beautiful blog that I follow which has highlighted her book a few times.  The projects in her book are collection of patterns focused on being retreat-friendly ie. something beautiful that can be made in a relatively short period of time.

Now I have her book to add to my growing collection of eye-candy sewing/quilting books.  I can just sit and read them over and over again.  

Back to my project.  
The class for the afternoon was small - just two students but this was the first time my teacher had taught a class so it was good for her to have a small number and it's always good for students to have their teacher's full attention.  It was nice to be able to chat while sewing; the project wasn't overly difficult but I love a reason to socialize with other quilters and just being in that beautiful environment, instead of being surrounded by all the jobs I have at home.  It was a great afternoon.

My fabric choices:  I came with the fabric filled with colourful flags (bought at Joanne's Fabric Store in Florida) and matched it with some fabrics from the shop.

Thoughts on this project:

1.  I love taking classes.  I find that I am increasingly confident when sewing - I surprise myself with what I actually know.
2.  As a result I may not need to take any classes but I LOVE TAKING CLASSES mostly because I can be with others that sew.  I like to talk "shop".
3.  I always learn something new - nothing wrong with that!
4.  This shop has a nice vibe for creating something beautiful.
5.  I honestly didn't read the instructions in the book.  My teacher guided us along.  Despite that, I will make at least one more of these bags and a few of the other projects on my own.
6.  I was there for over 3 hours BUT I know this bag could be made in much less time.
7  I can't wait to go back and take another class from Katy or anyone else at Mad About Patchwork.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Another Project from The School of Sewing

Sometimes I just want to shift gears when sewing and do something relatively quick.  I love a "finish".  I bought this fabric at Joann's in Florida last winter because it caught my eye.  I wandered around the store with the bolt for a long time with no purpose.  I guess most quilters have this problem - something catches your eye that you love and you just want to buy it.  It sat in my fabric stash until this passed week when alas it had a purpose.  

I own Shea Henderson's book The School of Sewing.  My collection of sewing books is drastically increasing but this one continues to be a favourite because it feeds my desire to learn to make things other than quilts and it speaks to me as a sewing newbie (not a quilter).  I flipped to this project in her book, read through her instructions and actually used the cutting measurements only.  Her pictures inspired me to make the project simple.  Sometimes you just want the fabric to stand out.  It also gave me another opportunity to work on my quilting technique.

This shows the back of the place mat but also the quilting stands out.
Now back to the big project at hand... pictures soon!

It's been a while but today I am linking up with  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Glad to be back!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

It's Our Birthday Boy

Happy 9th Birthday to Alex today!

He loves playing hockey.

 He is such an awesome kid!  

He quickly made it to the top of this rock-climbing wall at the Renfrew Fair.

Jean and Alex love playing together - they are actually very close -  they
are bad influences on each other!  Jean acts like the little brother he never had... sometimes!

Ian and Alex have had some great opportunities together and going to
watch the Ottawa Senators play is always a highlight.

It's moments like these that the big kid starts showing through.

Our boy is growing up way too fast, right before our eyes...luckily there are still glimpses of that little boy but more and more we see the big kid creeping through.  
He is our boy between two sisters but he is a great brother to them.  
He is a kind, caring person; always looking out for others.  We are very, very proud of him.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

It's a Change

My focus is shifting.

Last year I had this urge to share more; I have been writing a personal/family blog for a couple years now but I was throwing myself into my craft (quilting) more and more and I wanted to share what I was doing and learn from others.  I took a lot of time to keep both blogs going and quite honestly, I seemed to be more focused on my blog devoted to quilting.  I guess I started this blog mostly because I didn't want to bore my friends and family with my sewing obsession so I kept them separate.

These days I am writing less.  I want to take focus away from my online presence and actually get some projects done.  I cringe when I think of all the time I have spent trying to tweak both blogs.  I don't regret what I have learned but I wish I took more time to write or sew instead of reading blogs and changing the "look" of both sites.  In the end, I seem to have less blog posts than before.  Oh well... moving forward.

What I am going to do is merge both blogs together.

Glenroy Farm Family Chronicles

The Farmhouse Quilter

I have worked hard on my Farmhouse Quilter blog and I love the title.  I like to think of myself as a quilter and my work is done in my farmhouse, which I love... it is part of me.  It is my place of work, sleep, eat, relax... it is my space.  I share it with my husband, children and extended family but I spend the most time there.  Here.

So there you have it; I am moving forward with this change.  I hope many of you enjoy what I share, whether it's my current quilting projects, thoughts about life on our farm, what our children are up to or my own opinions on what's happening in my life.

I share my blog via Facebook, Instagram, Bloglovin but you can also receive my blog posts in your inbox.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Fabri-Quilt New Block Design: Square Sky

Square Sky Block

This summer I signed on to participate in the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop.  We were challenged to design a quilt block using a collection of fabric from Fabri-Quilt, called "Watermelon Summer".  We were asked to use a minimum of three of the fabrics in our design.  I played with the fabric for a few days (don't all quilters "play" with fabric?) and decided to use what I was drawn to... the blue colour palette.

I pulled out my graph paper, pencil, eraser and pencil crayons - I am not tech savvy in my design technique but I was very happy with how easy and pretty it turned out on graph paper.  This block is perfect for a beginner quilter but also perfect for when you are using fabric you want to show off (especially for the centre square).

Instructions for the Square Sky Block design:

Choose 4 fat-eighths of fabric.  I think this design looks good when all fabrics are from the same colour family plus a white but none of this is necessary.  Choose what you love!


Centre Block (lapis blue):  1 - 6.5" x 6.5"
Corner Squares (white): 4 - 3.5" x 3.5"
Rectangles: 4 - 2" x 6.5" (aqua)
                   4 - 2" x 6.5" (turquoise)

Putting It Altogether:

Set your stitch length to 2.5 when piecing this block.

1.  Begin with the 2" x 6.5" rectangles, right sides together, sew along the long edge of the rectangles: 1/4 inch seam allowance is best.  This will make 4 units:

Press seam allowance towards darker fabric.

Just a little side note:  I love using starch when piecing my quilts...
it makes sewing so much easier!
 2.  When I sew a block together, I like to see what I need to do and this block is easy to visualize how it should be put together.
Sew two rectangle units to the sides of the lapis blue square.  Sew two white squares to the ends of each of the remaining rectangle units.

Press towards the large lapis blue square and towards the white for each unit.  This makes it easy to match up seams in the final stage.

Another little side note:
I was moving along quite quickly sewing this block together (it is simple) but then realized I made a mistake... no sewing project is complete without pulling out the seam-ripper.  

3.  Sew all three units together.  It should look just like this when finished:

I love it when my seams line up so nicely.

I made another block with what fabric I had left and I altered it slightly.  In the end, I liked the version on the left better than my original, on the right.  Either way, this block is a great, quick block that shows the fabric nicely.

Block:  Square Sky

I would like to thank the four hosts of our blog hop:
Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl 
Stephanie of Late Night Quilter
Terri Ann of Childlike Fascination

I am also sending a big HELLO out to my fellow block designers that are also sharing today:

Lastly, head on over to Inspired By Fabric for their giveaways and full information on all of the new block designs this week and the beautiful fabric we were fortunate to work with from Fabri-Quilt.