Monday, November 26, 2012

Super Mario quilt block

Super Mario question mark block

I'm happy to share my completed Super Mario block today! It was due way back on Halloween and I've been feeling badly that I've fallen behind in the Fab Bee. Now I'm nearly caught up! Eryn was the queen bee for October and she chose the fun theme of Super Mario. I knew that I wanted to make a pixellated block just like the ones made for Angela of Cut to Pieces' Super Mario quilt a-long. Since I knew I definitely didn't have time for an entire Super Mario quilt at this time, this was a great way to try it out without the commitment! Thanks, Angela, for the easy-to-download layouts for the blocks! If you want to try this block, you can find the grid here.

I decided to make the question block because it was always full of happy surprises like coins, super mushrooms, and fire flowers. Good times! My kind husband took on the onerous task of playing some Super Mario Bros. and grabbing me a screenshot of a question block in action so those of you who aren't familiar with the game can see my inspiration.

Cutting the strips. I used Kona cottons in black, canary yellow and orange. Eryn supplied the blue fabric and I'm not sure exactly what colour it is (it looks similar to Lake on my Kona colour card).
After the rows were pieced. 

I pressed the rows in opposite directions and nested the seams. At the end, I decided to press the seams open to reduce bulk.

The back of the finished block

After cutting and piecing 196 tiny squares, I had the effect I was hoping for. My block finished at about 16"x16". I love it and can see more pixel blocks in my future!

Now I have a few days left to work on my November block for Lysa! I've been good and haven't even let myself open the cute envelope she sent me at the start of November. Can't wait to see the fabric she chose!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blogathon Canada 2012


Hello Canada! If you've just arrived at my blog through Blogathon Canada, welcome! I wish I could invite you in and offer you some Celebration cookies, but I ate them all last night during a late-night sewing marathon. Today is an especially busy day for me, but I have time for a quick blog post before heading back to the sewing machine!

Hi! I'm Holly and I love modern quilting! I'm the founder and president of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, a group of fabulous quilters who meet monthly (our meeting is tonight, guests are always welcome!) to connect, laugh, and get inspired. Since starting the VMQG in June 2010, my life has been enriched and I've made many amazing and talented friends. I'd recommend that you check our your local Modern Quilt Guild or start your own!

I'm currently working on my Kona Modern Quilts challenge project (due in less than 12 hours!) that uses fabric from local designer and just a super nice person, Cynthia Frenette. I also have a dozen other projects on the go, including my colour wheel quilt that I finally basted at the last VMQG sew-in!

My most recent finish is a rainbow pincushion for a pincushion swap organized by the Kansas City MQG. The cool thing is that I'll be swapping with someone going to QuiltCon and I'm hoping to meet them in Austin, Texas in February!

I look forward to meeting new Canadian quilting bloggers through Blogathon Canada and I hope you have a chance to visit a bunch of new blogs! Thanks to Felicity and Cathy for hosting the BC leg of this tour!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween recap

Halloween has been over for a while now and most of the candy is gone. However, my last post promised some photos of our pumpkins and the girls' costumes, so here you are!

2012 was the year of the dinosaur in our home, so all our pumpkins were dinosaur-themed.

Sophia drew a Parasaurolophus and her dad carved it out for her:

He also made a Stegosaurus pumpkin:

I used Sophia's realistic T-Rex toy as a model for my pumpkin:

And I carved Ellie a T-Rex footprint on her tiny pumpkin:

 As any fellow Vancouverites know, October 31st was an incredibly rainy day. Here's the family dressed for trick-or-treating. Fortunately, Sophia's costume included matching rain boots!

Eleanor was dressed as a crow. She was incredibly hard to photograph, but this picture captures the fleecy black feathers she wore. She kept flapping her arms and making a "whoosh, whoosh" sound.

We missed the worst of the downpour by going out relatively late at 6:30pm. Sophia was dressed as Perry Parasaurolophus from the tv show Dinosaur Train.

Note the bony crest created from an old bike fender covered in fleece. I used the dinosaur tails tutorial by Jessica of Running with Scissors to create the tail and modified it to match the wavy and spotted pattern on Perry Parasaurolophus. I love how it turned out and think every kid should have a dinosaur tail!

My little dinosaur was thrilled with her costume!

Now that Halloween sewing is over, I can get back to some quilting! I've got a Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild sew-in on Friday and I can't wait to spend some time sewing with my friends!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Our pumpkins had a dinosaur theme this year, so I did a Tyrannosaurus Rex. My sewing and creating has been focussed on Halloween costumes and pumpkins lately and I'll share soon. Off to trick or treat in the rain!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Felicities - Star Trek cross stitch pattern

I'm linking up to Friday Felicities again to celebrate things that have made me happy this week. One fun thing is that the folks at Wee Little Stitches have finally come out with a Star Trek: The Next Generation cross stitch pattern! I've already purchased my copy and can't wait to stitch it up! I'm a trekkie and TNG is my favourite Star Trek series. When I heard the pattern had come out, I thought I'd give this image macro meme thing a try and created this image:

Worf "Today is a good day to cross stitch" image by me

If you're a fan of the series, you'll know that this is Worf, a Klingon Starfleet officer. A famous Klingon phrase as they head into battle is "Today is a good day to die". I'd rather cross stitch than go into battle any day. 

I actually bought this pattern using my other main Friday Felicity, my new Android phone! After seven years with the same old flip phone, I have taken a giant leap into the world of smartphones. You can now find me on Instagram as hollybroadland (and if you're not on Instagram, I've been tweeting my photos and you can see them here @myredbike). I'm am loving having a camera with me at all times. I finally got to take a photo of that real estate sign I've been wanting to photograph for weeks because it's great inspiration for a quilt.

Now that I have a great new phone, I'm learning how to text (finally!) and I can see where all those funny DYAC posts come from. I've been trying to be very careful to avoid funny autocorrects, but as I was buying the Star Trek pattern I accidentally sent the message "Live long abducted" instead of the more traditional Vulcan saying, "Live long and prosper"!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cross stitch wedding portrait

What do you give the bride who makes her own wedding gown? A hand-stitched wedding portrait, of course! When I heard that my friend Rebecca had spent over 250 hours hand-stitching her dress, I knew I wanted to commemorate that with a wee little stitches custom cross stitch. With a little sleuthing from Rebecca's sister, I had photos of the dress and the couple to send off to Jacqueline. Jacqueline quickly created a custom pdf pattern that included metallic thread on the bodice and train of the dress to represent the lace in the real dress. I stitched most of this project while on a family camping trip on the Sunshine Coast and it was lovely to sit outdoors while thinking of Rebecca and Eric and wishing them a happy life together.

The wedding was gorgeous and I have to say, the portrait really does look like Rebecca and Eric (even down to Rebecca's hairstyle!) If you ever want to create one of these portraits, check out weelittlestitches on  Etsy for a custom pattern.

p.s. Rebecca had awesome shoes!

I'm linking up to The Handmade Parade at There & Back
There and Back

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Felicities - My QuiltCon Challenge Block made it!

Mondrian-inspired QuiltCon Challenge block by Holly Broadland, photo by Elizabeth Hartman
I'm so excited! My QuiltCon challenge block is one of twenty blocks that Elizabeth Hartman selected for the raffle quilt! After seeing the display of nearly 400 amazing blocks on The Modern Quilt Guild's blog this past month, I'm honoured to have my simple Mondrian-inspired block selected for the quilt. I've been considering writing a tutorial (it would be my first!) for this block. Do you think people would be interested? It's pretty straightforward, but I haven't seen any tutorials out there that walk you through it.
Thank you, Amy, for emailing me at 4:00am to let me know that the post with the final four blocks was up and that my block was in the group! Good thing I've already registered for QuiltCon so I can go down and see this quilt in the show! Guess I'd better work on getting some plane tickets, eh? This is a Friday Felicity indeed!
Friday Felicities is a new linky party by my VMQG friend Felicity. It celebrates the positives in our lives and I think it's a great way to wrap up the week. I'm linking up today for the second time.
Other felicities on my mind this week:
1) Eleanor turned a year and a half old yesterday! She's very affectionate and loves to give hugs and kisses. 

2) Sophia is five and a half today! (yes, the girls have birthdays just one day apart) We went to her school's open house last night and I got to see her writing book. She's written, "I love dinos. I'm Sophia. Do you know I love you, Mom & Dad?" If you've got older kids, tell me, how long will she stay this sweet?
3) I got happy mail twice this week! My Heather Ross free fat quarter from Spoonflower arrived and my October fabric for the Fab Bee came super early. I get to make a Super Mario block for Eryn! Now to decide which character to make...
Have a wonderful Friday! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


On September 15th, I had the joy of attending an all-day quilt retreat with a group of Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild friends. I had been anticipating this day for over a year and I was thrilled to finally be going. I present the video evidence of my excitement:

The view from the community hall.

It was heavenly! The retreat was organized by Krista (Poppyprint) and it took place in a great space in beautiful Lions Bay. The day was full of sewing, chatting, eating delicious food, show and tell, more sewing, more food, and more chatting. There were also door prizes (I won a book!) and candies and fascinating debates about topics such as scones vs biscuits.

Here's the scene in a quick video:

Katie working on her Out to Sea quilt

I had the pleasure of meeting blogging friend Katie (There and Back) who lives a ferry ride away. She'd be a VMQG member in a heartbeat if it weren't for that pesky ferry! She sat next to me and showed me her amazing Winterkist selvedge pouch and rainbow charm square quilt top. I love meeting online friends in real life!

You may be wondering what I accomplished sewing-wise in a 13 hour retreat. The answer is: two blocks. Yup, unlike Janet, who quilted and bound an entire quilt, I completed two bee blocks.

Berene's fabric package included candy!

Churn dash top right, "sprinkles" for Berene's block being cut

The first was a churn dash for Felicity for a mini bee that we're doing to help out with each other's bee quilts. Secondly, I made a colourful and fun 100's & 1000's block (aka Sprinkles) for Berene for the Fab Bee. I go into these sewing days aware that I love to chat and wander around to see what everyone's working on. I know that it impacts my productivity, but I certainly enjoy myself! Here are some photos of people who got a lot done at the retreat:

Janet quilting the charity baby quilt

Elke getting an early start on a Christmas gift

Laurraine hand quilting her Scalloping on the Bias Cafe quilt

I enjoyed every moment of the retreat and will definitely be back! Next step, an overnight retreat! Have you had the pleasure of sewing with your quilting friends?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Felicities

It's technically still Friday here in Vancouver for another hour and a half, so I'm going to participate in my friend Felicity's inaugural Friday Felicities linky party! Felicity is a lovely person who likes to celebrate the positives in her life. I agree with this philosophy and I love the idea of spending time to record things that make you happy. Here are a few of mine from this week:

1) Happy mail! The FQ bundle of Bella by Lotta Jansdotter that I won in Katie's Winterkist blog hop arrived. It's just beautiful and the Fat Quarter Shop staff packed it up so neatly. I almost want to keep it this way!

2) Happy kids! My daughter, after two weeks in kindergarten, has declared that school is great. She's adjusting to the full days very well and my younger daughter is enjoying the extra trips with mom to the family place and library.

3) Happy husband! Dean is looking forward to his first league hockey game tomorrow night. This will be his third time playing hockey this week and he loves it. I love the fact that the hockey bag is now living on the porch instead of the storage room in our condo.

3) Happy Holly! I'm going on a full day retreat with my VMQG friends tomorrow! We'll be sewing from 9am-10pm only taking breaks to eat the delicious food Krista has prepared for us. I've been anticipating this retreat for months and I'm ready to savour a kid-free day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

QuiltCon block challenge

If you've been reading this blog over the past few weeks, you may have realized how excited I am about a little event called QuiltCon that's happening in February. I've been anticipating this event since it was announced six months ago and one way I could keep busy while counting down the days til I head to Austin was by making a QuiltCon challenge block.

Here's the Mondrian-inspired block I made for the VMQG's second anniversary. We asked members to create a modern block in the colours of the VMQG logo. I first made a block like this in the red and aqua bee and I thought it epitomized modern quilting.

 I expanded on my VMQG block to create this QuiltCon challenge block in the colours of the QuiltCon logo. It measures 12 1/2 by 18 1/2 inches.

Back in July, I sent in my block, and it is featured on the Modern Quilt Guild's blog today (along with the block by the talented JoAnn Lee, also of the VMQG!). Twenty of the nearly 300 blocks submitted will be chosen for a special raffle quilt and the others will be made into charity quilts for the Austin Children's Shelter.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

QuiltCon registration confirmed (woot!)

Woo hoo! I was up bright and early this morning to register for QuiltCon and I got into the two workshops I wanted plus I got a four-day lecture pass and a ticket to the 80's dance party! I'll be learning hand-quilting from Anna Maria Horner and making a mini quilt with Lizzy House.

Registration went very smoothly for me. I was on the computer refreshing the registration page at 6:50am, it opened at 7:01am according to my computer, and, as you can see above, I had my confirmation email by 7:04am. I think obsessively watching the video tutorial on how to register helped!

About ten members of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild are flying from Vancouver to Austin for Quiltcon. Are you going? I can't wait to see you there! If you won't be going this year, you can still enter a quilt in the quilt show!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm going to QuiltCon!

Ever since QuiltCon, the inaugural modern quilting conference and show, was announced in February, I've been looking forward to attending this amazing event. It's going to be held in Austin, Texas from February 21st to 24th, 2013. It will be four days full of modern quilting workshops, lectures, and meet ups and I can't wait. Registration begins tomorrow at 7:00am PST and I'll be ready and waiting at my computer!

I've thought long and hard about my workshop wish list and I think I'll restrain myself and only sign up for two workshops. I know I'll want to have time to go to lectures, visit the quilt show and vendors, get out into Austin, and, most importantly, socialize with other modern quilters. I'm eager to talk to presidents and members of other modern quilt guilds to hear how their guilds are going and what they're excited about.

Even if you can't attend QuiltCon, you have a chance to be part of it by submitting a quilt to the quilt show by November 30th. Or perhaps you already submitted a block to the QuiltCon block challenge? I just caught a sneak peek of my block here and I look forward to seeing it soon in the series on The Modern Quilt Guild's blog.

The Modern Quilt Guild masterminds have worked so hard to make this awesome event come together and I'm thankful to them! They've thought of everything, from a fabric-obsessed visitor's guide to Austin, to an 80's dance party, to video tutorials explaining how to register.

Will I see you at QuiltCon 2013? I hope so!


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