What Are Your Preferences?

Those of you who subscribed to my newsletter and have followed me to this blog have found that the two are alike. I continue to review tools and books, add humour, give away free patterns, and introduce quilt sites. Soon I’ll be back to featuring quilters and answering questions as well. The major difference between the two is that it often took me at least two months to prepare a newsletter whereas now I can add a few segments each week or biweekly – at least, that’s my plan.

I must apologize to those of you who subscribe via email. Yesterday all you received was one bit of humour which was meant to be included today. I accidentally published it instead of saving it and emails go out automatically during the evening of the day they are written.

Is there anything else you would like to see added to Maria’s Quilt Scraps?

Are you satisfied with entries either weekly or biweekly?

What would you like to see changed or omitted?

I see and read many blogs where the quilter includes some personal material about their lives. Would you like to see that here?

Please use the “Leave a Comment” link below to answer any or all of the questions above and to comment on anything else you’d like to share about this blog and your likes and dislikes. I look forward to reading them as I’m sure all of our readers will.

Thank you,


Tool Review: Finger Guards

Finger Guard from Guidelines™ 4 Quilting

Finger Guard from Guidelines™ 4 Quilting

Guidelines™ 4 Quilting has come up with yet another very handy tool for quilters – finger guards that can be placed on any ruler to protect our fingers while cutting. Their suction cups make the very easy to attach and they are easy to remove, too..

They come in sets of two so that we can use one on each side of two sides of larger rulers such as 12 inch squares. We often we make cuts along the left or right side of large ruler and a second cut across the top. Placing them in each direction protects our fingers as we make each cut.

Finger Guard on 12 inch Guidelines™ 4 Quilting Ruler

Finger Guard on 12 inch Guidelines™ 4 Quilting Ruler

The rulers and the finger guards are made of polycarbonate which is 25 times stronger than acrylic which is another great feature. I tried to take photos without any glare showing but it was beyond my photographic abilities.

Click on the photos to visit the Guidelines™ 4 Quilting website to order these handy tools! The first photo will take you to their website and the second directly to the finger guard page.

Accidents do happen and it’s always best to take steps to prevent them. As the saying goes – and it’s true – “Better safe than sorry!”

Website: Comparing Food Values

This is not about quilting, but we quilters need to take care of ourselves so that we can remain healthy and create more quilts, among other reasons. 🙂

I thought this website would be of interest. It is called Two Foods. Y ou can type in any two foods that you would like to compare and up comes information for both of them which includes a comparison of the calories, carbs, proteins, and fats per indicated serving as well as the calories for different types or brands of the foods. In the case of different types of apples, for example, it even includes calories for jellies, pies, turnovers, etc. It’s a very handy tool for those who are concerned about their own nutrition and that of their families.

The Daily Stitch

The Daily Stitch is a blog I highly recommend. It is described as an online page per day calendar. Subscribers receive a daily quilting tip. It’s a great, easy way to add to our knowledge and now you can enter to win one of Nadine’s books, Inchie Quilts plus an InchieSee & InchieDo Viewer Tool & Ruler Set. Click here to find out what Inchie Quilts are and to enter the giveaway and click here to subscribe to the Daily Stitch and read tips from the past.


A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.
The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol – Dead.

The second worm in cigarette smoke – Dead.

Third worm in chocolate syrup – Dead.

Fourth worm in good clean soil – Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation – “What can you learn from this demonstration?”

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said,
“As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!”

That pretty much ended the service.

Storms, Tornadoes, and Electricity! Oh My!

Circuit Tester

Circuit Tester

It has been a month since entries have been added to Maria’s Quilt Scraps, and for a very good reason. On August 20th, Southern Ontario was hit by severe storms that spawned 8 tornadoes some of which were of the F2 category. Well over 600 homes were severely damaged from one tornado alone – the closest one to us – and a good 200 were completely destroyed. The loss of life was the worst of it, very sadly, that of an 11 year old boy.

The weather channel advised us to go into our basements, which we did, but soon afterwards, I began to smell fire. That sounds strange, I know, but it didn’t seem to be smoke I was smelling. It was a very weak smell which became stronger, but though we searched our house, we couldn’t find the source and thought perhaps that it was somehow getting in from outside. Afterwards, when the storm was over I began to turn on lights and found that several weren’t working. It was too late in the evening to call an electrician which we did the following morning. In the meantime, my husband went and bought a circuit tester and tested all of the outlets in our house. To our surprise, many of them registered “hot” which is dangerously unsafe.

The electrician thought we might have been hit by lightening and advised us to flip the breakers to all of the affected outlets. Unfortunately, many of the outlets weren’t marked and we’d no idea if the affected ones were all off. If they weren’t, we were told that arcing could happen which would result in a fire. We were advised to stop using everything but our stove, frig, and freezer.

Upon inspection, the electrician discovered that it we were not hit by lightening after all. Instead, wind driven rain had caused water to get into an outside outlet which shorted the wire and started it burning. That’s what I’d smelled. Very fortunately for us, the wire burned only a little way into the house and then burned itself out. It turned out that our two outside outlets were not up to code for the present time. The caps on them were not waterproof. It’s unlikely that waterproof caps were available 40 odd years ago when the house was built.

Much to our surprise, our “hot” outlets had nothing to do with water getting into the outside outlet. The electrician found that in those, the wires were reversed and since no work has been done on the since our house was built, it means they were put in wrongly in the first place. They have been “hot” and dangerous all of these years. We are simply very fortunate that no arcing occurred and therefore no house fire! I shudder to think about it because one of the rooms was our younger son’s bedroom after which it became my sewing room. Those outlets have been in constant use! We were twice blessed. Firstly by the wire burning itself out and secondly by its causing our other outlets to be checked.

One of my thoughts after the fact was that had we had a fire, we had no inventory of any of our belongings for insurance purposes and we could not have relied on our memories. Making a claim would have been a nightmare. We are taking care of that now by having it professionally done by Niagara Home Inventory.

Actually, that fact is rather embarrassing. Besides being a quilt designer, I design websites and Niagara Home Inventory is one of the ones I’ve created and still maintain. One would think I would have availed myself of their services long ago, but as the saying goes, “better late than never” and although it’s something we could do for ourselves, the great majority of us just never take the time.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? To urge you to go right out and buy your own circuit testers and to test every outlet inside and outside your home, not forgetting your garage (where one of our “hot” outlets was found). They are inexpensive, costing $10 in our area.
Your safety is worth that investment! Get your home inventory done, too!

The circuit testers have a graph right on them explaining the combination of lights that will go on when plugged into an outlet, so they are easy to use and decipher.

For a variety of reasons, it took 10 days before our electrical problems were solved after which I was so far behind with computer work that I have yet to finish catching up. That’s the reason that a whole month has gone by without an entry to my blog.

Be safe!

Making a Baby Quilt – Step 3: Appliqué Block #2

Cat Block - by Maria from Kay Mackenzie's “Easy Appliqué Blocks”

Cat Block - by Maria from Kay Mackenzie's “Easy Appliqué Blocks”

An entire month has gone by since I made the first block! Time passes much too quickly, but that’s not the reason for the delay. An August storm caused us problems which I’ve described in another section which will be filed under Miscellaneous.

I didn’t do quite as well with this appliqué. It’s puffy instead of flat. Rather than doing the frog stitch – which is a little late now that it’s trimmed – I may cut into the back and add a little batting for a Trapunto look. I may also decide that I like that puffy look and leave it just the way it is. I always seem to need to let problems “percolate” in my subconscious for a while, after which a decision will pop into my mind.

It’s such fun going through my fabric scraps and stash choosing fabrics for each block. I particularly like this one for the cat. Although it doesn’t show well in the photo, it has little lines in it that make it look like cat fur.

I’ve begun the third block and hope to show it next week.

Making a Baby Quilt – Step 3: Appliqué Block #1

Tulip Trio - by Maria from Kay Mackenzie's “Easy Appliqué Blocks”

Tulip Trio - by Maria from Kay Mackenzie's “Easy Appliqué Blocks”

In between other projects, I have finally started on the quilt blocks from Kay’s book with her “Tulip Trio”. (I love tulips!) My challenge is to choose all of the fabrics from my stash and make them work together. I should really plan out the colour scheme ahead of time, but instead am “winging it” which is one of my tendencies when quilting. Not always though – I do take time to design every detail of many of my quilts first.

The method I’m using is similar to paper piecing. Using a window as a light box, I traced the tulip pattern onto the back of my block with a mechanical pencil. Then I pinned the green fabric to the right side and sewed from the back side along the traced lines for the stems and leaves. Then I cut away the excess green fabric (using appliqué scissors) and went on to do the three tulips in the same way.

At this point the edges are all raw. I will either cover them with a satin stitch or choose an appropriate decorative stitch, but not yet. That step won’t happen until my quilt sandwich has been made. This eliminates the need for stabilizers and the stitches become part of the quilting.

The background fabric for the Tulip Trio is a white on white pattern of small roses with vines and leaves. Unfortunately, though I took numerous photos, I could not get them to show up.

Click here to read about Kay’s book or to buy it.

Pattern Winners for July and August

Our pattern winners are:

July: georgehart@……………

August: swbalter@……………

    Congratulations to the winners! They can each choose from any downloadable PDF pattern on my pattern pages with one exception – the patterns on the Guest page.
    Winners can claim their free patterns by leaving a comment here and including the pattern name they have chosen.
    Winners must claim their free pattern by no later than September 15, 2009 after which they are no longer eligible.

*Note: Winners will need the free download of Adobe Acrobat Reader to print their patterns.

A New Online Quilt Magazine

Quiltposium – a new free quilt magazine will make its debut in September. It will include articles by well known quilters, gardening, cooking and crafts, fun places for quilters to go, and a centrefold! Yes, a centrefold! Click here to find out more about that and to subscribe.