Thursday, December 31, 2009

Go Canada

As you can see by the photos, we were at the torch relay yesterday.  Sundridge is a community about the same size as Burk's Falls-population of 1000 people.  Yesterday afternoon that number was, at least, doubled as celebrants from surrounding areas gathered to watch the sight.  There was a brief build up, the torch arrived and lit the one waiting, a few moments for photos and it was off again.  Prior to its arrival, the bearer who was waiting posed for photos for anyone who asked.  He was wonderful and really added to the excitement.
Today, we once again have news of soldiers being killed, citizens murdered and weather disasters.  I am going to focus on yesterdays experience as a wonderful way to end this decade.
  We are off to Orillia again so the next posting will be on Monday.
Happy New Year everyone and thank you, Lord, for Canada.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Torch

Have you been following the olympic torch relay?  We are quite excited about it and especially so as it gets closer to our area.  The outpouring of Canadian spirit is both astounding and enheartening.  It is so rare that we Canuks demonstrate our feelings about our country.
As I write this, my husband is on the lap top following the torch through Orillia.  We both lived there for a number of years and go back a few times a month to see his family.  We are watching to see if we know any of the torch bearers.  I am particularly watching for one very deserving person.  Walter Henry is one of amateur boxings best known fighters.  He has won a room full of awards, set records (some of which have yet to be beaten), been to the Olympics twice and all without a trainer.  He, of course, lives in Orillia and I have been proud to call him friend for many years.
We are heading north to Sundridge this afternoon to watch the torch make its way through that community.  We will be wearing our red gloves and taking pictures.  I will post some tomorrow.  Go Canada.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paper Piecing

We had some bad weather yesterday afternoon.  The snow combined with wind created almost a complete white out condition here in the woods.  I was glancing out the window as I sewed expecting to see one of the trees come down or the toboggan go swirling past but everything stayed put.  I did see something memorable, however.  Walking out of the storm toward the house and then strolling past was a buck.  It looked just like something from a painting 'Stag in Storm'.  My husband is working on a picture this morning and I think that may be what he is doing.
I have been putting blocks together for a quilt for my sister-in-law.  They are all different paperpieced birds-jays, cardinal, wren, robin etc.  I enjoy seeing each completed block but, oh my, those tiny pieces of fabric.  One of the enjoyable aspects of quilting is that there is always something new to learn and each bit of knowledge opens the door to more projects.  This is especially appealing to me as I get bored continually doing the same thing.  Learning to paperpiece has enabled me to do patterns not possible with rotary cut squares, strips and triangles.
In a few days, we will be in a new decade.  If you haven't tried anything new recently, I urge you to take on the challenge.  The quality of your success isn't as important as the quality of your attempt. Think about something you have always wanted to do but haven't dared to try.  Give yourself a start date, mark it on your calendar, book lessons, if needed and get going. Share your plan with others so they can encourage you. Let me know what and how you are doing.  I would really like to know.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past

I hope you all had a great Christmas.  The day itself was rather hectic for us.  We drove to Orillia about an hour and a half south of us where we spent some time with my father in law.  Then it was on to the farm where the rest of the family was gathering.  By meal time,  the noise level was pretty high with the excitement of children and adults trying to carry on a conversation. We had to take our little dog as there wasn't anywhere to leave her and she usually goes crazy when around people but this time she just lay on my lap and watched everyone.  It must have been hard on her as she slept all the way back home and didn't move much the next day.  We left for home right after eating as freezing rain was predicted.  We didn't have any problems and arrived home safe and sound.
We have started opening our gifts on Christmas eve since moving nearer family.  It makes things a bit less rushed the next day.  I received, among other things, my requested yellow sweater.  Heidi gave us the red Olympic gloves which we will wear on Wednesday when the torch goes through our area. I also got a quilt calendar (pattern a day), a gift certificate to a fabric store and some of my favourite sour candies.
After opening our gifts, we put together some snacks and watched Scrooge-the black and white version with alister Sims.  I have seen it so many times now that I almost know the dialogue by heart but I still enjoy it and I still cry when the Cratchit's talk about Tim.
It is still snowing and the driveway will probably have to be cleaned again but for now we can stay in, enjoy the wood stove and scenery and relax.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Day

Here is a couple of photos of some of the things I have been working on this Christmas season.  The first picture is of a dresser runner for my sister-in law, vest for great nephew and dog for a great neice who is a toddler.
The quilt top-unironed or dethreaded is 60 x 60.  The light squares are actually a shiny gold.  I don't have a Christmas quit so I thought that this year I would do one.
We will be opening our gifts this evening as we will, like many of you, be on the road in the morning.  My wish for you all is a peaceful Christmas, safe travelling and the comfort of knowing that you are loved.
      Merry Christmas to you all.  The next posting won't be until Monday.
Blessings from my house to yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Silly Me-Twice

How much is that Heidi in the window?  Priceless.  This is her favourite place; sitting and watching the deer.
Well, I am not sure where my head was yesterday but, apparently, not on my shoulders.  I really thought it was Wednesday.  My husband and I had to check the internet to be sure it was Tues.  I should have realized it was as I don't watch television on Tues, as I mentioned and I had looked at it the night before.
Second oops was when I went to do the DVD and realized I had deleted my brother's instructions.  He has resent them and,as I now have an extra day (sigh) I still have time to put that together. 

Today which really is Wednesday, is making bread and wrapping gift day. Not sure if all this is because I am getting older or just because there really isn't a reason for keeping track of the days. 
Tomorrow, (Thursday!) I will post some photos of my Christmas projects.
My mother is very much on my mind as I get ready for the celebration.  It will be our second Christmas without her and it is still difficult.  If you are missing a loved one, my thoughts and prayers are with you.  It is harder to feel sadness in the midst of gaity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Two More Sleeps

I finished the last of my gift making yesterday evening.  Other than the news, I only watch TV on 3 weeknights, Mon. Wed. and Fri. and that is when I get all my hand sewing done.
I saw an interesting sight this morning.  Roger was chopping wood and there was a deer nearby, 10 to 12 feet away, just munching on some scraps we had put out.  I could see that she was watching him but didn't seem to be to concerned.  At one point she started walking closer and was within reaching distance when she seemed to realize what she was doing, turned tail and bounced into the bush.  Quite the sight.
Our little dog loves to sit on my sewing table and look out the window at the animals.  She is in the way when I am sewing but I don't have the heart to move her unless I am working on something large.
I am going to try and put some of our house and property construction photos on a DVD for my father-in-law to watch on his television.  He is somewhat housebound and hasn't been here so I thought he might like a virtual trip.  I haven't done this before but my younger brother has sent sprecific instructions so I should be alright.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

In the Home Stretch

Today I am, like you, working on the last bits and peieces to be done before Christmas.  Only have a couple of gifts to finish, baking is done, some wrapping to do, housework is done and my husband is out getting a few more needed items.
It was a busy and eventful day yesterday.  We had our special pre-Christmas service at church where we sing, read scriptures, eat and exchange fun gifts.  It was a happy and blessed start to the day.  After lunch, my husband, dog and I went outside to enjoy the lovely winter day.  He was on the snow shoes and I decided to get on the X country skiis ( I call what I do, cross country screeching) since I hadn't used them for a while.  With Roger breaking the trail, Heidi following and me floundering behind, we made our way through our bush and over to the neighbours.  The snow was deep but fluffy so we were enjoying ourselves watching the antics of the dog as she bounced around trying her best to be everywhere at once within the limits of her leash.
Our neighbour heard our approach and came out in time to watch my spectaular crash. I lost  my balance going over a knoll and cracked my head on the ground.  I lay there, stunned, the dog pawing at my head, my nieghbour yelling her concern and my husbands voice all swirling around me.  I got up with a little help and we continued on.  I have a whip lash injury and the fall has exacerbated it but, other than that, I am okay this morning.  We have decided however that I had better stick to snowshoes and start wearing a helmet.
Later on in the evening our neighbours came over with a friend of theirs and we enjoyed a nice time together.
Today, I am getting the laundry done and working on those last minute gift making tasks.  It is, once again, a beautiful day.  I took some photos of the sun shining through the snow laden trees first thing this morning.
There are a lot of winter storms happening throughout North America and into Europe.  If you have to travel, please do so carefully.  Whatever your day brings, take time to pause, appreciate what you have and give thanks to the One who gave it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One More Week

A week today is Christmas-just in case you needed a reminder.  Yesterday, we went to Huntsville and finished our shopping so now I just have some sewing and baking to do.
We met my friend Carol and her husband for lunch and had a nice visit and gift exhange.  Carol made us a lovely stained glass angel. I really like handmade gifts even if they aren't as professionaly made as this one.  I imagine the person thinking of me as they are putting it together.  I equally enjoy making gifts for others and, yes, I do think of the recipient as I am cutting and sewing.
I have a recipe for you today that makes a nice gift or is something to have on hand when companies arrives.  We get a lot of sweets this time of year and I think it is nice to have a savory to balance it all.  This recipe is from a television morning show so I can't take either credit or blame.
Cheese Crisps

Preheat oven 350o


2 cups grated, old cheese
¼ c. butter, softened
1 c. flour
Few drops of Tabasco
½ tsp dry mustard
2 c. Rice Crispies, crush lightly

Mix cheese and butter until well blended
Stir in remaining ingredients except cereal. Blend well.
Add Rice Crispies. Stir until combined.
Spoon onto greased baking sheet. Flatten with back of spoon.

Bake for 10 minutes

Option: Roll out dough, slice lengthways. Twist strips into straws, sprinkle with parmesan. Bake.

I found that I needed to add a bit more butter to make everything stick together.

Hope you like the recipe. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I received a letter from a friend recently and she asked if I were happy with our move.  I replied that if she were able to see the view from my windows, she would understand why I am extremely happy.
I took this photo yesterday.  It was a bit overcast but you can still see how lovely the bush is with all the snow.
I was thinking this morning that I am a very blessed woman.  I have a good husband, wonderful family, many good friends, an amazing little dog and am living in a wonderland. 
I read somewhere, once, that happiness is a choice.  We can choose to see the good or decide to see the bad.  None of us have perfect lives but the majority of people in this country are very fortunate. And, we have done nothing to merit such fortune.  We could have been born in a country were basic needs are not guaranteed.  We could daily face bombings, persecution, and disease.  Our children could be denied an education because of gender or class.
Canada is not a perfect country because it is populated and governed by people and wherever there are people there is imperfection.  Despite its drawbacks, however, we still live in one of the greatest countries in the world.  People risk death trying to flee their homelands and Canada is one of their chosen destination.  Before you go to bed today, think of 5 things for which you are grateful and tomorrow morning, think of 5 more.  You will end one day and start the next with a peaceful heart and that too is a blessings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still More Snow

It is a good thing I like winter as we seem to be getting a goodly amount this year.  It snowed again yesterday and we added another few more inches to the bush.  It really is lovely.  I will take some photos and post them so you can enjoy the scenery with me.
Last night, Roger and I went to our next door neighbours for a little gathering.  They had invited 3 other couples over for some food and fellowship and we all had such a good time laughing and talking.  Throughout the evening, we watched the snow falling. 
When it was time to go, my husband led the way through their property and onto ours.  He was carrying the flashlight and I trudged behind trying to stay in his footsteps.  The snow was light but deep and, as we walked, I thought  of how still everything was and what a Christmasy picture we must have made with our little light leading the way through the night. We only needed the sounds of wolves in the distance (the far distance!) to earn the caption 'Christmas in the Country'.
I received an e mail from a friend in Alberta and she said that the temperature there was minus 52 celcius with the wind chill!!
I have some baking to do today and need to get at washing the nativity costumes.  They have been in the trunk of my car since the parade.  I put up all my nativity sets yesterday which takes up a bit of time as I have around 20.  So, the house is looking like Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last Minute Patterns

Here is a simple Christmas decoration and an easier way to make gift bags.

Tree or parcel decoration.

Materials Needed
heart or other shape
small amounts of shiny finish fabric i.e. lining, silk, polyester
small amounts of lace (approx. 3 or 4" square)
or purchased lace or battenburg medallions
small amounts of stuffing

Trace 2 heart shapes onto fabric. Cut out.  Place lace over right side of one heart and pin in place. If using a medallion, stitch to right side of one heart shape.  Place other heart on top, right sides together.Sew around outside leaving an inch on one side for turning.  Clip around stitched area being careful not to cut stitches.  Turn right side out.  Stuff lightly.  Sew opening closed.
Attach a piece of ribbon for hanging.
Sequins and pearls can be added, if desired

Other shapes can be used.  I have done these in dove and square shapes.  Look through applique patterns for suitable templates.

Gift Bag

I make these from Christmas as well as other fabric for year round gift giving.


Fabric, twice the size of completed bag size.
Ribbon, twice the length of the bag width.

Sew bottom and one side of bag.  Fold ribbon in half and pin to unsewn side 3-4 inches from top (fold placed on raw edge.)  Sew remaining side ensuring that the ribbon is attached to the seam.  Turn top edge down half an inch and then again one inch. Press and sew.  Turn right side out. 
Addressee label can be added by punching a hole in label and threading ribbon through it.

I like these bags because it is easier to include the recepient's name and the drawstring types always remind me of something you carry your shoes in.


Friday, December 11, 2009


I intended to post a pattern for a small decoration and a gift bag today but I am running behind schedule.  I will definately do it on Monday or maybe even Sat.
Took Heidi to the vet this morning for her booster needles and check up, bought some more cards and now am trying to get caught up with the day.  Have to do some baking and sewing for an event this evening as well as type out what I am sharing with the ladies.
Hope all the Ontarians are dug out.  Huntsville area is getting another bad storm with some of the highways in the area shut down.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Winter Wonderland

The storm has abatted in our little wooded area of the world.  Our phone is out, the internet was off for a few minutes but the hydro stayed with us.  Some of the areas to the the south of us lost their power but ours stayed faithful.  I have gotten used to the idea that every time the weather changes the power lines collapse so it is something of a miracle when they don't.
My husbands finally got his truck unstuck and now we are waiting to get plowed out. 
I have been baking all morning.  I have done my usuall batch of whole wheat bread and, in between risings, I made some mini christmas loaves.  I also have a ham in the oven for tonights supper so the house is quite warm.
Even with the cold, we still have our doors open as the wood stove puts out so much heat.  We are hoping to put on an addition (is that a redundancy) next year and that should spread the warm around a bit.
I was able to get a lot of sewing done yesterday.  I am making a mini quilt for a great nephew and I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I made it from a panel that I have had for years,( see everything gets used sooner or later) added a border and backed it with fleece.  I will post a picture.  Also started a dresser runner for my sister in law.  The pattern is one that I have done a number of times before but it is a little tricky so I have to really concentrate.  I don't know who invented the seam ripper but they deserve a prize of some sort.  The Happy Sitcher Award?!
I have been looking at a couple of co-ordinating fabrics that I have and want to use them in something as they are so lovely.  Haven't been able to find a suitable pattern.  I was looking through some olf books last night when I had a revelation.  I can design my own.  I am a designer aren't I?  Will let you know how that turns out.
If you were out yesterday, I hope you all got to your destinations safely.  By the way, you do have an emergency kit in your vehicle, don't you?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We are snowed in.  Much of Ontario is under storm warnings and schools are closed.  My husband got back home safely this morning but some of the area roads weren't plowed and he only made it half way up our drive.  As he had done some shopping, our toboggan was put to good use.
I rebooked Heidi's vet appointment as it was in another community.  I don't really mind driving in the bad weather but feel that there is no need to add another vehicle to the road.
I was a professional driver for about 35 years so have been out in some pretty horrendous conditions.  One time I was returning from an evening meeting and the fog was so dense, I, literally, didn't know where I was on the road.  Another time, I had driven a bus to another city and a storm hit as I was returning.  Snow mixed with freezing rain was so bad that the police were shutting the roads down.  I was in line with a number of transport trucks and we were all just creeping along.  Every so often a car would go zipping past us and then we would see them in the ditch a little further along.

I did get my Christmas project started yesterday and then discovered I needed more fabric.  I am also working on some presents-small quilt, a teddy bear and a child's top.  My husband is snoozing on the couch.  The dog is snoozing on my husband and I am sewing.  Bliss.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I woke up this morning with the pleasant realization that it was Saturday and I din't have any appointments.  It was a wonderful feeling until my husband reminded me it was Tuesday!  However, as I still didn't have to be anywhere, he said I could stay in bed if I liked and he would bring me toast and tea-bless him.  I decided to get up and get things done as he was going to Orillia to do family stuff and wouldn't be back until supper time tomorrow.  I tidied up the dishes, brought in some wood and took the dog for a walk.  It is another of those lovely sunny, crisp days and I was reluctant to come inside.  Shortly afterwards, Roger left, I made a cup of tea, did my e mail and, once I've finished this blog, I am going to spend the day quilting.
I am starting to feel quite Christmas-sy and I think I will do a holiday themed table topper or small quilt.   I have been thinking that I would like to do a Christmas quilt for the bed but no time this year.
Yesterday, our local quilt group had the final meeting for the year.  We gathered at a members house for pot luck, quilting and sharing.  It was a lovely time.  My contribution to the feast was a loaf of homemade bread.  I didn't get it cooked in time so took it 'as is' and baked it when I got there. It was a happy decision. The smell of baking bread mixed with the home made lasagna filled the house and drove any quilting thoughts from my head.
I will have to bake something for my husbands return home as he has been very patient and understanding about my busy schedule for the last few weeks.
I expect to have another little pattern for you this Friday.
Thank you Jacqui (hope I have remembered the spelling of your name correctly) for your kind comments about this blog and my article in the Quilter's Connection.  If you are a quilter, you might want to pick up a copy of this Canadian quilt magazine.  It comes out quarterly and itsn't available at all stores yet but it is worth the effort it takes to find it.  Being a Canadian publisher is not an easy job especially in our current economy, so it is important that we all do our bit to help.  I know that some members of on-line quilt groups that live in other countries have taken out  subscriptions as well.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Christmas Parade

Just a quickie this morning as I am off to quilting.  It has been a snowy weekend with areas to the south of us being warned to stay off the roads.  It was better here although we did add another inch or so of the fluffy stuff.

Our entry in the Christmas parade on Friday got 3rd prize.  We were beat out by Tim Horton's and the local grocery store so I think we did pretty good for the first year.  The weather was a bit chilly but not too bad so that those on the float didn't freeze and the ones walking didn't overheat.  It was our biggest parade to date this year with about 25 entrants.  Not large in comparison to Toronto or other big communities but respectable for a village.
  The handsome man dressed as Joseph sitting near the cross is my husband. The walking angel is our pastor's wife.  An enthusiastic lady who is always ready to join in or lead.
I smiled as I looked at the photos of the angels in toques and mittens.  You can tell we are in Canada.  It might be cold but we don't stop having fun.
Hope you have a wonderful week.

Friday, December 4, 2009


It is really snowing today-large, fluffy flakes that are quickly covering the ground, trees and, everytime she goes out, the dog.  The stuff we got on Monday didn't stay but it looks as though this will.
I have to go out a couple of times today and then tomorrow is the parade so the snow will add to the Christmas atmosphere.  I am sure ski slope operators are glad to see the snow arrive as this has  been a long fall for them.  People often are more likely to start buying gifts when it looks more like winter so the snow is beneficial to a lot of people.

This photo was taken last year from my studio window.  Magnificient fellow, isn't he?We haven't seen the deer yet this winter but I am sure they will soon be arriving.  Another positive snow result:
it will  be quieter now here in the backwoods with the snow absorbing the sound.  It is surprising just how noisy it can be around here (not city noisy but not as still as I would like) so I really look forward to the peace and quiet of winter.

I have changed the blog settings so that anyone can leave a comment.
I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finished-More or Less

For the past few weeks, I have been making clothes for our entry in the Christmas parade.  Our church is portraying the nativity so I needed to outfit angels, shephards, the wisemen, and some sheep as well as Mary and Joseph.  We invited the children from another church's youth group to join us and it has been fun watching their enthusiasm.  Yesterday evening, I took their costumes over for a try on and they were all twirling around and showing off.  Even the older boys didn't mind putting on a 'dress' when they were told they would also get to carry a staff or wear a crown.
It has been a lot of work and I am not completely finished but watching the children has made the work worthwhile.  (It has also helped with the devestation I feel over the death of our friend).  I hope that our parade entry will remind people of the true meaning of Christmas.  Even for believers, the rush of the holidays sometimes can push out the One we are honouring.
I hope that you will take time this Christmas season to attend a church service.  I know this can be a scary prospect if it has been a while since you've been in a church  but, if you make the effort, you will be blessed.  Check your local paper for a candlelight service.  It is a wonderful experience to sing Silent Night by the light of a tiny candle.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Free Pattern

This pattern is great for using up an orphan block, a fabric that you don't want to cut up or a pillow sized panel.  It is quick, easy and can be done any size you want.  It would make a wonderful little Christmas themed table covering.

Read through instructions first.


Backing  in desired size of your project
Batting (Cut so it is 2 inches smaller in length and width than backing)
Note: Do not use polyester batting-Warm and Natural or similiar is best.
Panel for center
Strips of fabric in co-ordinating colours
Strips width 3 1/2".  If doing a project less than 36" square, use 2 1/2" strips.
Length of strips will vary from the size of center panel to width and length of the quilt. It may be necessary to piece some strips if your quilt is wider/longer than 40 inches.

Place backing right side down on table and center batting on top.
Center your panel on the batting.  Measure to be sure that it is centered.
Pin the panel to keep it in place.
Place your first strip on top edge of panel, face down.
Sew through all layers.
Trim ends with scissors and then open the strip and finger press.  Pin.
Add next strip to bottom of the panel, repeating the steps above.
Add strips to the right and left side, repeating steps for first strips.
Continue adding strips until you have covered your batting.
Note:  Check back of quilt after you complete each round to ensure you don't have any puckers.
When you have covered the batting, trim edges and sew on the binding.
If you have any questions, contact me at:

This pattern is from the e book I am compiling.  If you would like to be notified when the book is ready, please let me know at the above e-mail.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We have snow!  It started yesterday evening and then stopped but when we woke this morning there was a wonderland outside out window.  As I write this, my husband is running the quad up and down the road to start packing it down.  There needs to be a base so when the plowing starts, the road isn't damanged.  Everything is probably going to melt with the predicted warmer temperatures but he is enjoying himself so it doesn't matter.
As soon as I have finished my tea and this blog, I will take the dog for a walk.  I should put her in her coat as the snow sticks like little cotton balls to her hair and, as she isn't very big, her underside needs protection.
I was at a ladies meeting last night and when the speaker mentioned the weather and asked, as a joke, if anyone liked winter, my hand shot up.  I know I am in a minority but I love this time of year.  All the trees are coated in white today.  Occasionally, you can see a mini avalanche of snow freeing itself from one of the evergreens.  We are surrounded by a wonderful sense of peace.
Did you know that snow makes a sound as it falls?  If you live in a very quiet area, you can hear the flakes as they whisper through the sky.  The sound is intesified if you are surrounded, as we are, by trees.
The snow, of course, helps kick in the Christmas spirit so I must go to the village and send off some cards today but I will enjoy my wonderland for a while first.
Tomorrow, I will have a quick quilt pattern for you.  It makes a great last minute gift idea.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Morning and Some Tips

This weekend has been both marvellous and sad.  The good part was being with my family to help my sister celebrate her 60th birthday.  I have siblings in England as well as Ontario so it is always a treat when we have members from both countries in one place.  We stayed overnight with my husband's sister and visited with them on Sunday.  On the way home we picked up our little dog who we had left in a doggie motel (an emotional time for me.)
Because Heidi was in the kennel, I had been frequently checking my voice mail and found a message on our home phone from our former pastor asking me to call as she had news.  I assumed it might be that her daughter was engaged and, as soon as we got home, I phoned.  Unfortunately, the news was bad.  A friend of ours had been killed in a traffic collision.  Our family had all attended the same church in Edmonton and then, almost all at the same time, we moved to Ontario.  Our pastor friends went to a new church and our other friends to the Ottawa area as he is in the Armed Forces.  On Friday, David was riding his motorcycle and was killed by a person who turned left into his path (a very common occurance when you ride a mc), hit him and left.  We are, of course, grieving for his young family.
And now for the hints.  The majority of traffic collisions happen at intersections and usually during a left turn.  If you are turning and there is a large vehicle approaching you, check to make sure it isn't hiding a smaller vehicle.  Because motorcycles are small, they appear to be further away than they are.  Check a landmark near them to give you and idea of the distance and the speed at which they are travelling.  If in doubt, don't move.  It is only 90 seconds until the next green light.  Before turning left, check left for pedestrians, especially those who might be running.  Keep looking left as you turn.  Pedestrians are often hit because motorists are looking right as they turn left.  Why?  They are looking for vehicles who are approaching from that direction.  If they weren't there when you checked before your turn, they won't be during it and, if they are, there isn't anything you can do anyway, you are already in the danger zone.
If you are beside a large vehicle when the light changes, stay beside it as you enter the intersection.  They will protect you from anyone running the light. Always, always, hesitate before moving on a green. Check left and right and left again before moving.  Why the focus on the left side.  That is where the cars are the closest to you.
And one final point.  When stopping, keep a good distance between you and the car ahead.  If the vehicle behind is skidding, you will have room to move up or even change lanes.  If the vehicle ahead stalls, you will, again, be able to go around it.
Please take your driving seriously.  More people have been killed in traffic collisions than all the world wars.

Friday, November 27, 2009

PB and Ice-Cream, Oh My

I admit it.  I am a peanut butter nut.  I love the stuff.  I love it mixed in with vanilla ice-cream, spread on bread, toast or a bagel.  I love it combined with jam or straight out of the jar.
When I went for my last physical and told the doctor how much trouble I was having getting my weight to budge, I happened to mention that I ate  a couple of large spoonfuls of pb every day (not counting what went on bread).  He suggested I might want to cut back.  Actually, he gave me a bit of a lecture on the perils of extra weight and told me to wise up. 
Well, I have tried.  First of all, it was easier to increase my walking distance and cut back on my other food portions.  I now limit (or try, anyway) my daily PB intake to one slice of bread or one small bit on a spoon.
I should just quit buying it which is the method I employ for most of the 'bad for you' foods.  But then, I remind myself that PB is a protien and protien is good for you.  And, I really don't know how I would react to complete withdrawal.  Would I start complusively cleaning the house?  Would I take up marathon running or kick boxing?  I think that in the interest of sanity (my husbands as well as mine), I better have my fix each day.  I think thinness is over-rated anyway.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Written Word

Ever since I had my first newspaper column 30 years ago, I have been aware of the importance of the printed word.  Everything you read whether in a newspaper, on a clothing label, cereal box or a blog, has the ability to influence your life.  People generally believe that what they read is true.
I once wrote a column about dandelions and snagged nylons.  I said that as there didn't seem to be anything we could do about either then we should embrace them.  Instead of spending time and money eradicating those pretty little yellow weeds, we should call them flowers and let them flourish like cheerful lawn decorations.  I went on in much the same vein about runs in nylons being a fashion statement instead of a disaster.  This, of course, was all meant to be funny and I think the majority of readers took it that way.  However, I happened to overhear a couple of ladies commenting on the article and they thought that, because it was in a newspaper, it was a serious suggestion.
Journalists seem to have more influence than most writers possibly because they are reporting on the news and readers believe that what is written is only a factual account of an event.  Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.  Newspapers often have a political or other bias. 
Novels can also wield a lot of power.  I wonder how many children developed a sympathy for horses after reading Black Beauty or came to admire dogs from Jack London's Call of the Wild?  How many people are anti-hunting because of Bambi? Books on child rearing techniques, how mankind originated, and racial profiling can affect people for generations.
What ever you read, it is important to remember that, in most cases, the words are the opinion of one person.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

E-Mail Accounts

I was just helping a friend set up her e mail account.  She and her husband have been building their new home next to us and are gradually getting all the services in.  Everything, of course, takes longer to do in the country but the only thing they now need is the phone.
Another draw back of a rural area is the limited access to high speed internet. Our only choice here is satelite and, while it is not as fast as cable,  it is light years ahead of dial up. And, of course, there is only one person who does the installation so just getting everything in can take weeks. However,  she finally had everything done except the her e mail account.  Her  previous one was provided by her service provider and that will be cut off in a couple of weeks.   I have always been of the opinion that you should have two accounts, one of which is a free service like Yahoo or Gmail which you can take with you no matter who is providing your service. If you keep all your e mail contacts in both accounts, it saves a lot of work if you change service providers.  The same is true for your list of favourites, saved e mails, folders etc.  I do so much on line that it would have been torture if I had had to print everything before moving or save to disk or whatever.
Do you have any favourite techie tips?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our Little Heidi

 I was wondering what to write about today when Heidi gave me the topic.  When she was little and starting her toilet training, we needed to find a way she could let us know she wanted to go out.  If Heidi just sat by the door, we wouldn't always see her in time.  We didn't want her to scratch the door or bark so we came up with another method.  I found a large, round, metal bell and attached it to the shoe stand near the door.  I wasn't sure she would get the idea but everytime she wanted out, I took her paw and rang the bell.  It only took a few days before she did it herself much to our amusement.  Of course, we made a big fuss which resulted in her ringing it a dozen times a day for a bit. 
Sometimes my husband forgets and leaves his workboots by the door and Heidi can't get to the bell.  The first time that happened, we heard her whine (which is unusual) and investigated.  There she was trying to paw at the bell which was behind the boot. 
I wish we could train her to stop barking at every imagined sound as easily.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another week

A summer photo of the last half of our driveway leading to the road.  There are raspberry bushes on the right side and my sister in law is inspecting them.

My e mail in box was busy this weekend.  One of my groups had a virtual quilt retreat and there was a lot of on-line chatter.  Another group was commiserating with a member who had had a beloved furry family member die and I was back and forth with some family members.  The internet is a wonderful medium for keeping in touch.
Our weather is still fairly nice for this time of year.  The air feels damp but it isn't cold.  Took Heidi for a walk this morning wearing my light coat.  I have been trying to walk for at least 20 minutes a day.  It is good exercise for both of us.
This afternoon a couple of friends are coming over and we are doing the trail through our property and the one adjoining.   In the meantime, I have sewing to do.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bits and Pieces

This is my great neice and nephew on their great uncle's motorcycle. Doesn't Ellie look serious about being in control. I think she is a future biker chick.  Their father used to race bikes in England.

I spent most of yesterday making nativity costumes and starting my sister's birthday present.  As she may read this posting,  I will have to tell you what it is after she gets it.
I suppose you have heard the news reports about Oprah not renewing her TV show contract after 2011.  It seems to be all over the news this morning which has left me thinking about what we consider to be important.  Yes, she has a popular show and, yes, she certainly is an influential women but is end of her show an earth shattering event?  There were a set of conjoined infants who underwent a successful operation  and they only got a brif mention. I could start with one of my rants but I guess I will just leave it at that but I really do think we could take another look at our value system in this country.
Have you done a quilt as you go pattern?  I like them but hate all the hand sewing that has to be done.  I have recently designed a pattern where everything is done on the machine.  As soon as I have a test done, I am going to get it ready to sell. 
One of the hardest things about developing a home business is setting and meeting goals.  Because you are your own boss, there is a tendancy to not take your work seriously i.e. set aside time to do it.  Maybe that will be my resolution this year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Rainy Day

Yesterday sort of got away on me.  We went to Huntsville in the morning to shop and meet with my friend Carol.  It was almost time for lunch when Carol phoned to say she was at her appointment but feeling ill and could we come and get her.  I am so glad we were there for her as she lives an hour and a half from Huntsville and wasn't in any shape to drive.  We took her to a restaurant for a bowl of soup and she was able to reach her husband. Then, with me driving her car and my husband following in ours, we drove to where she would meet her husband. It was a lovely day and, if it wasn't for the reason, a nice drive.
We finished our shopping and went home.  I was, of course, concerned about Carol and really couldn't settle down to doing anything for the rest of the day.
Today, I woke to a lovely sunrise; one of the benefits of having a south easterly facing bedroom window but showers were predicted.  I was able to take the dog for a walk and get in the days firewood before it started to rain.  I need to spend the day making costumes for our parade float.  The number of little shepherds has changed from none to eight so I am glad I bought extra fabric yesterday. It will be a good day to stay in and sew.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Worthwhile Project

It is colder this morning with a light frost on the trees and ground.  The sun is still shining brightly though.  I am making bread and doing laundry.  As soon as I get the bread done and ready to rise, I will be going outside to help my husband with some of the firewood he cut yesterday.
Last night while watching the news, I got out my tote of scraps.  I took me over an hour but I got the strips, blocks and pieces all seperated.  All this has accumulated in a year as I got rid of all those little 'some day' bits before I moved.  I will now sort them further into colours and put them into baggies where they will be ready for when needed.  I don't kid myself that all future scraps will be kept organzied but at least this lot is.
One of the ladies in our quilt group told us of a project that you might find worthwhile.  A mother whose child had cancer started this and continues it in the name of her child who, sadly, succumb to this dreadful disease.
The project is to make colourful pillowcases which will be used to help brighten the day of children who are outpatients or staying in hospital undergoing cancer treatment.  The pillowcases must be cotton or flannel, have no raw edges and be of a uniform size.  Fabric is washed in plain water and dried without the use of fabric softeners or dryer sheets.  The completed cases are placed in individual ziplock bags.  As you can imagine everything possible has to be done to protect these children who have suppressed immunity.  The child is given a different case each day and, if they are outpatients, get to take one home.
If you are interested in this project, check to see if the hospital in your area that treats children with cancer is interested in receiving them.  The pillowcases have to be sterilized and this is extra work for the staff.  If they can't use them, perhaps the regular pediatric ward can as, no matter the reason, being in the hospital is especially hard for children.
If you would like to make the case, contact me and I will give you the instructions.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Every so often I need a reminder of how lucky I am.  This morning I was feeling grumpy because my husband woke up early and started rattling around starting the fire, watching television and generally creating a noise.  It woke me up but I was still drowsing. Then the dog barked and scared me half to death. And so, I was feeling a bit grumpy as I was making my breakfast and getting ready for the day.
My usual habit after breakfast and devotions is to check my e mail.  This morning there was a note from a group member in Australia telling us about her cats getting outside, the panic of rounding them up and getting a bad bite in the process.  Suddenly, my day seemed rather peaceful.
This morning I am off to my quilt group.  I am working on a scrappy heart quilt which started off as a scrappy bargello.  Decided I didn't like the look of that so took it apart and am using the squares to make this project.
Saturday was the village craft sale and I am pleased with how I did.  One lady scooped up all my baked potato bags (knew I should have made more of them) and I sold a quilted table runner and some other things.  I am also going to have a sale in my home in December  the week after the Santa parade. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Autumn in the Backwoods

I suppose it isn't nice to laugh at our poor dog but she is certainly a leaf magnet.  One of them almost covered her eye but she waited until I took the picture and then tried to shake it off.  Of course, when you have that much hair, someone has to help with the grooming.
Her hair is like velcro.  Whenever she has been outside, she is festooned with  twigs, burrs and other plantlife.  I probably should have her trimmed but I do like her long hair and she is good about getting brushed.
Our pets certainly provide us with a smile, don't they.  No wonder they are good for our blood pressure.  Except, of course, when they insist on getting into trouble.  I am not sure what is going to happen to our Christmas tree this year.  Last year, when she was only a few months old, we put the tree on a table.  This year, we have an artificial one and its height determines its place on the floor.  I have visions of chewn decorations.  Oh, well, there is nothing wrong with having no trim on the bottom half.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Mystery Quilt

It is a lovely, crisp day here in the woods.  The sun is shining and there is a bit of frost on the ground.  I had to put on my winter coat when I took Heidi for a walk although I didn't need a sweater under it.  Silly as it may sound, I love the look of the leafless trees against the sky.  I can see all their tiny, spiderlike branches that are normally hidden as well as the birds who stop to rest from their continuous search for food. 
Our wood pile is getting bigger although Roger is spending most of his time now in hunting.    We will soon have to think seriously about removing snow from our driveway but the forecast tells us that we don't have to worry about it right away.
I have been spending my free time getting ready for the craft sale this Saturday.  I have completed the mystery quilt and am doing some touch up work on other projects.  This is the first time I have entered this sale so am not sure what the customers will be looking for.  Sometimes the only sales you make at these events are from the other vendors who walk around the tables while waiting for the customers who have gone somewhere else.  This sale has been held for a number of years so that tells me it must be successful.
The photo that you see  is my version of the mystery quilt.  I decided not to do the kitties around the border because I couldn't find my white marker pen.  I think I may do this pattern again but make it larger.  I am looking forward to seeing your project.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mid Week

I am running out of title ideas.  Maybe I will just start using the date.
Yesterday was a special day.  Some women who I have known for many years came over for lunch and a visit.  There is something unique about being around people who you have known for a long time.  You, of course, share a lot of memories but it goes much deeper than that. Old friends are those who have seen you at your best and worst.  They have seen your failures and triumphs. They have cried with you and laughed with you, sometimes all at the same time. You can accept their help and their advice because you know it is extended with love.  Neither time nor distance weakeness a true friendship.
I have and am blessed to have so many wonderful women be a part of my life.  Without them, I am sure I would not be the person I now am.
I hope you all can say the same.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Do you keep a journal or diary?  I have been in the habit of doing that since I was a teenager and it is a good way of keeping track of when certain things happened.  It is unseasonable warm here today and I was wondering what the weather had been like last year and found that it had been much the same.  I remember that it was fairly cold on Rememberance Day but had forgotton that we still hadn't had any snow.  If I had looked back farther to 2007 when we were in Edmonton, I am sure I would have found that it had been much colder.
I also discovered that we picked our little dog up a year ago yesterday.  It is amazing to look at her today and remevber the tiny, white fluff ball she had been.  We had to drive quite a distance to get her and I made sure I brought a large towel for my lap, paper towels for mishaps and some water as well as a tiny harness and leash.  All very necessary items when you are transporting a puppy..
We hadn't picked out a name for her yet so on the trip back my husband and I kept thinking of names while I tried to stop the pup from crawling all over the front of the car.  She wanted on my shoulder, on my husband's shoulder, the back of the car seat-anywhere that was higher than where she was.  I was beginning to think we had got a kitten.  All that climbing did give us a name though.  I had read the story of Heidi, the little Swiss girl that lived with her grandfather when I was a child and it seemed appropriate to name a climbing dog after her.
Shortly after receiving her name, Heidi let us know why she had been trying to get to a different place.  I shouted at my husband to 'pull over' and I gingerly got out of the car with the dog.  Roger came over to take the leash while I cleaned up.  Thank goodness I had brought supplies.
Since then she has provided us with a lot of laughter, exercise and love.  Of course there is also expense, irritation and inconvenience but she is well worth it. And she still loves to climb.
If I hadn't kept a journal, I wouldn't have been reminded of Heidi's homecoming or the anniversary of another event that happened the day prior. 
By November  of 2008, we had moved into our new home and had all our services except the phone and internet.  I had been calling Bell regularly since August and was getting increasingly frustrated.  When my mother died, I had to use my cell (which kept cutting out) to talk to my family in England about arrangements.  Every time I called Bell, I got a different excuse and a different installment date.  Finally, On Nov. 7th, we got service.  The following week my internet was hooked up.  Happy day.
I don't write in my journal every day unless something momentous is happening but, when I do, I like to record the weather and anything that might be making the news.  I keep it in my bedside table and often pick it (or one of the two previous ones I have done since being married) up and read back over past events.  It does help keep things in perspective to see how my life has changed over the years.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Peekaboo Party-last installment

Good morning.  I am up and around earlier than I expected so thought I would get todays posting done so you can see the suggestions I have for finishing or changing your quilt.
If you haven't read Wednesday's post, you may still want to do that as I have a couple of quilting hints in it.

Top stitching: one of the problems that people have with quilting is deciding how to do the top stitching.  I am certainly not an expert.  My quilts tend to be either stitch in the ditch, shadow quilted or stippled with the majority being the last method.  For this quilt, however, I found that diagonal stitching works quite nice.  I started in the top upper left corner square and following an imaginary line across to the bottom right, I stitched diagonally from point to point across each square.   Because the quilt is a rectangle, you will end up on the right side, fifth square from the bottom.  I moved over four inches and repeated the process going in the opposite direction ensuring I was going from square corner point to square corner point.

I did not include the borders in this part although, of course, you can.  Because my quilt has kitties on it, I cut out a template of a cat and am going to trace that around the border and stitch.  You could do this for whatever theme you chose.

Another top stitching method you might like to try relates to the border stitching I just mentioned.  Sometimes you can find some very simple pictures in a child's colouring book that can be used as templates.  If I wanted to stay with the cat theme, I could have found a large picture of a cat, made a template and traced it onto the quilt top.  I then would have top stitched the quilt following the traced lines.

To difficult to mark the top of your quilt?  Use the back.  You can trace your pattern on the back of the quilt and then sew.  Remember, if necessary, to change your thread so that your top stitching colour is in the bobbin.

Changing the quilt size.  This is a very easy pattern to adapt.  You can add more rows vertically and/or horizontally.  You can increase or decrease the block size.

Did you use any variations in your quilt?  If so, tell me what they were or, better yet, send a photo.  I would like to show off your quilts so please send pictures.

Next month, I am going to have some ideas for quick or last minute gift making.  In January, I will be posting something completely different that I hope you all will enjoy. (May do it earlier if I can't wait!)  And, if you liked doing the mystery quilt, let me know.  I would be pleased to do another one in the New Year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This and That

Welcome to the newest members.  I think I will have to do some sort of milestone project later on.  Not sure just what the goal should be-six month mark, 25 members?  Will have to think on that.

Just some random thoughts today.  Yesterday, my husband was out hunting.  It was a miserable day.  We had rain and snow and a mix of both.  I, of course, was in my studio sewing away and looking out at the back of our property when I saw a movement.  You guessed it; a deer.  Roger never saw anything all day.

Handquilting Frames:  I don't watch very much television and, when I do, I like to keep my hands busy.  Lately, I have been trying to improve my hand applique (and finish a project I started over 30 years ago) so have been wrestling with various sized hoops to hold my work. I really wanted some kind of frame but it had to be foldable as we are a bit short on space.   The  frames in the quilt magazines are nice but too expensive.  Last night I tried out something that was posted in an one of the on-line groups I subscribe to (or it may have been a mag. hint).  It works great.  I put the quilt in the largest hoop I have, placed the 'top' of the hoop on  the back of a kitchen chair  and the 'bottom' rested in my lap.  It can be turned easily, is simple to move to a different area of a quilt without undoing a bunch of clamps or pins, and stores beside the couch.

Pining a Quilt:  Here is an idea of my own.  I have read of various methods of securing quilt backing before pining but the easiest method I have found is using butterfly clamps.  I am not sure that is what they are called but they can be found in stationary stores, are black and have 'wings' that fold back to be used as handles to open the clamp part.  Get the biggest ones you can find, spread your fabric on the table, place clamps on fabric and one side of the table.  Move to opposite side, pull fabric taut, clamp.  Repeat on other ends.  If your quilt is too big for the table, you can still use this method, pin the surface that is on the table, move quilt and then repeat. Much easier on the back than doing it all on the floor and your resident fur child won't be walking or sleeping on it while you work.

Are you working on the mystery quilt?  How are you doing?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fur Family

A number of the e mails I have been reading lately have been about  furred family members.  I have always loved dogs and cats.  There have been very few years of my life that have not been graced by the company of either furry friend and usually both.  My first dog was a black lab mix who, not very imaginatively, I named, Blackie.  I was about two when I chose him from a litter and he stayed with us until we moved when I was eight.  I never did know what happened to him.  Was he abandoned, taken to another home, put to sleep?  I never forgot him and never had an answer to my question.  By the time I asked my father, he couldn't remember.
We had various other dogs and cats while I was a home but the first that was my very own was Lady, a very intelligent mixed breed.  She was a pretty dog about the size of a spaniel and the markings of a collie.  She was the smartest dog I have ever owned. (Sorry, Heidi but it is the truth)  She lived to be almost 20 and I thought I would never get over having to put her to sleep.  A stray tortiose shell cat, Morris was already part of the household and she missed her companion as well.  A few years later, I got Missy, a Maltese.  They both lived to a good age and then joined Lady.  And I once again grieved.  My son brought me a lovely little orange kitty, Sandy, which helped. When I married and moved west, Rick took him back into his home and he grew into one huge cat. 
In Edmonton, we took in another stray who we named Pascha which gradually changed to Tascha.  Tascha was a real gentleman who never pushed but always was there to give a cuddle when it was needed.  He used to wait by the door when I came home, walked on a leash and would sit and come on command.  We were blessed by him for pver 18  years but when we decided to move east, we knew the trip would be to hard for him.  We had him cremated and his ashes and photo sit where I can see them when I wake up.  His photos are everywhere and I still find strands of his white hair on my fabric.  It has been over a year and I still miss his dear face.
And now we have Heidi, a very energetic and stubborn westiepoo.  Not, perhaps, the best choice of dog for  an aging couple but she seems happy and healthy.  I know the day will come when we will have to do what is best for her and send her on her way.  Until them, however, I will enjoy every minute that we have her although a little less when she chews up my shoes.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Pardon me while I rant.  I have been watching the news broadcasts of all the long lines as people wait to get their flu shots.  Most of them consist of family groups; parents with babies and small children.  They are waiting in these lines for hours.  Hours! with children that need to eat, go to the toilet, run off energy.  Waiting in line with people who, potentially, have the flu or other communicable illness. 
For weeks, we have been told of the necessity of getting the vaccination.  Doctor's have said that 'while most cases of H1N1 will be mild, people should get the needle to prevent the spread of the virus to the vulnerable and to reduce the effect on the economy'.  People listened and responded and the very people who told us to do this are not prepared.
All this leaves me wondering what would happen if we had a truly dangerous pandemic.  If we can't be prepared for something like the flu, then how are we to be ready for an outbreak like polio, a plague, or germ warfare.  The reality is that we won't be. Big brother does not have all the anwers.
So, what to do.  I think that as a nation, we do not accept that we will have to be uncomfortable or even to suffer at times.  We  need to take back responsbility for ourselves.  Governments have taught us to depend on them.  We are told that they will provide our care from the time we are born until we day we die and, not only is it impossible, it is also unrealistic.
My prescription:  exercise, eat healthy, laugh, pray, get lots of sleep, reduce anxiety and accept that your life will contain good days as well as bad.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Peekaboo Party Quilt

Today our quilt has a name.  Peekaboo Party seemed appropriate as the theme squares just pop up here and there and I really had fun doing this so, party it is.

I hope you can see my quilt top clearly.  As you can see, the blocks do make a pattern. 

Now let's put these blocks together.  You can use whatever layout you wish but I will give you mine so that you have something to start with.  I will be referring to B1 (Block 1) etc

Row 1-B1, B2, B3, B2, B1
Row 2-B2, B1, B2, B1, B2
Row 3-B1, B2, B1, B2, B3
Row 4- B2, B3, B2, B1, B2
Row 5- B1, B2, B1, B2, B1
Row 6- B2, B1, B2, B3, B2
Row 7- B3, B2, B1, B2, B1

Sew blocks into strips, join strips together in order given. Press.  Trim if necessary.
First Border:  Cut your border fabric 1 1/2 " wide.  Sew to bottom and top and then the long sides. Press
Second Border:  This can be cut from your theme fabric.  Cut strips 3 1/2" wide and follow steps above.
The third border is the binding.  Measure through center of the top lengthways and across.  Do this twice to make sure your numbers are correct.  Add numbers together and multiply by 2.  This is your binding length.  Add 1 1/2" for joining.
Cut backing  to size of top plus 2" all around.  Cut batting to size of top.
Layer your quilt, pin, top stitch and bind.

Next week, I will give you some top stitching ideas as well as directions to change the size of your quilt.
Please send me photos of your completed project and I will post them to the blog.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask:
Welcome to new member Cathy N.
If you enjoyed this project,  let me know in the comments or by e mail.  In Dec. (or sooner), I am going to have some quick projects that would be suitable for last minute Christmas gifts.
Blessings to all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Thank you, Lori, for your comment and encouragement and welcome to new member, Alyson.

When I first started this blog, I wondered if I would be doing it solely for my own writing experience. It is gratifying to find that so many of you are enjoying it. There are a myriad of internet related things with which we can fill our time and so it is a real compliment (and responsiblity) when someone choses to spend that time on something you are doing.

In honour of you all, I am including a simple paper piecing pattern today. It is, as you can see, at the top of the page. (Still can't make the photos go where I want). I am still learning about pdf's and blogs so thank you for bearing with me as I strive to improve this site. If you would like the pattern, just let me know at:

Tomorrow, I will have the third installment of the mystery quilt and its name.
Alyson, if you are a quilter, you can still join in on the mystery quilt. Just read the back posts.
Blessings to you all

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The last Monday of each month I go to the Ladies Circle of Friendship in Burk's Falls. It is a gathering of, mainly, church going ladies. We have recently been learning about the various names for God and what they mean. This has started me thinking of the importance of names.
Throughout my life, my name has been mispelt or mispronounced. Anna is not a long or difficult name but, for some reason, people have trouble remembering the last 'a'. My maiden name is Burk and I had the opposite problem; people wanted to add an 'e' no matter how many times I would spell it. My husband's last name is Wager and, of course, he often has an 'n' added.
We often associate characteristics with certain names. You would not expect a bulldog to be called Fluffy unless the owners had a strange sense of humour.
All names have meanings and I admit that I have never been able to live up to mine. Anna means full of mercy, grace and prayer. Roger's name means famous spearman which, as he is an avid hunter, is appropriate. My son Richard's name means strong king which is somewhat obvious given all the royalty with that name.
Once in a while I will meet someone with a name that I feel is in contrast to their personality. When that happens, I always have trouble remembering it. Another case of my strangeness: I have always favoured 'L' names for females and "D" ones for males. Why, I don't know.
For the last ten or so years, parents have either been making up names for their children or changing the spelling. While some are rather nice, others doom the child to a lifetime of explaining their name. I met a young girl whose name was Dalyce and I thought it was pronounced dal ees. Nope. It was Dallas.
And, of course, many names have changed gender which makes for some rather amusing results when it comes to meanings. Darcy, for example, means dark man.
Blessings to all, whatever your name.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Home Sweet Heidi

I have mentioned our little westiepoo, Heidi previously but, at risk of boring you, I must tell you what she recently did. Shortly after bringing her home, we bought a wire crate to put her in when we were away. If we didn't do that, she would have chewed up everything in the house. As she got older, she seemed to grow out of that stage and, as the crate takes up a bit of room, we decided to let her roam free.
We still did a quick check around before going out and she really has been doing better. Until Sunday. We went off as usual to the service after making sure she had been out and any needles or other sharp objects were putting away. When we came home, my husband mentioned that there was some thread on the carpet. That isn't an uncommon occurance. When you quilt, the house tends to be decorated with thread. However, I took a closer look and saw a little nest of strands and right near it was the remains of a thread spool.
Heidi had completly demolished the plastic. We are still finding thread nests so I am hoping that she didn't ingest any. So, we have once more set up the crate. Fortunately she likes it so that isn't a problem. And, equally fortunately, she didn't demolish my shoes this time but, my stars, that dog loves to chew.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mystery Quilt Week Two page 2

Block Three

Now we are going to use the theme fabric.
Cut all remaining fabric into 9 cm (3 1/2") squares.
Sew into blocks as shown in the photos.
Press. Trim if ncessary.

Mystery Quilt Week Two

Block 1 and Block 2

You will have two postings today. When you have finished reading/printing this one, go directly to the next for block three. (Sorry for the inconvience. I haven't figured out how to get the photo to stay where I want them.)
Before we start todays session, I would like to stress the importance of reading through all the instructions, especially those to do with colour placement. Study the photos to be sure you understand each colours position.

You have 2 sets of strips in light colours which we will label L1 and L2 respectively.
You have 4 sets of dark/bright coloured strips which will be D1, D2, D3 and D4
D3 and D4 were cut from the 1/2 meters (20") of fabric

Cut 19 cm (7 1/2") from one L strip and 27 cm (10 1/2") from the other L strip.

Set these short pieces aside. They are for block 3

Block 1
Sew the remaining D3 strips to the L1 strips
Sew the remaining D4 strips to the L2 strips.
Note: ensure that every strip is sewn together in the same way i.e. all the D strips on top.
Press strips open. Cut strips into 9 cm (3 1/2" ) sections.
Sew sections together using Block 1 photo as guide. Press. Trim if necessary to make a 16.5 cm (6 1/2") square.
Block 2
Sew remaining D strips together ensuring that each colour will be in the same position as shown in the photo. Press.
Cut into 9 cm (3 1/2") sections. Sew sections together using block 2 photo as a guide.
Press. trim if necessary.
Block three will continue on the next posting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yeah, Right

Before I start, let me warn you that if you are sensitive about anything that happens below the waist, you might want to skip this blog.
Once in a while, my DH and I watch Dr. Oz. Yesterday, he talked about why women are always lined up at public washrooms. He said it was because we have to urinate more often and gave reasons why-uterus pressing on bladder, excess fat, childbirth. And I am thinking, yeah, right. The reason women are lined up is because we take longer and the person who designed the building doesn't take that into account and provide more facilities.
Scenario One: Man going to toilet. Enters room, lines up at trough, unzip, flip, pee, shake, zip, wash hands, done.
Scenario Two: Woman going to to toilet. Enters room, checks to see if there is vacant cubicle, enters and closes door. Discovers latch doesn't work. Exit and look for another or tries to keep it closed with available body part. Hangs purse and shopping on hook that is, hopefully provided. If no hook, find somewhere where things will be safe. Checks to ensure there is toilet paper. Tells child to stop looking under connecting wall. Lowers pants, underwear, foundation garment and nylons, pees while telling child to stop fidgeting. Pushes door closed with foot. Dries, replaces previously mentioned clothing. Retrieves belongings and child who is about to crawl under door, washes hands and returns to husband that is loudly complaining about how long she took. Returns sympathetic smile of other women who are in line up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Unsettling Day

I have been more alert to news announcements today. A gunman has entered one of the government buildings in downtown Edmonton and, to date, I am not sure if anyone has been taken hostage, although there are some people who have locked themselves in a room. I have a number of friends who work in that area and I am anxiously waiting to make sure that none of them are involved in anyway.
As I wait for news, I have been thinking of how much access we have to situations that are occuring all over the world. We have front row seats to both tragedies and triumphs. When the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, we watched. When people are bombed, we watch. Children stuck in wells, bears in a tree, protestors, and hostage takings are viewed by millions just as though they were another television show. It must be dreadful for those who are immediately affected by whatever is happening to know that their grief is just another news broadcast.
I am glad we are living at a time when we are more aware of what is happening in the world around us. I also try to remember that the people involved are just that-people. They are human beings who are loved by someone. This helps me to stay sensitive and to pray for those in trouble.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Land of Oz

Do you remember Dorothy's line in Wizard of Oz when she said 'we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto'? It is a favourite quote for my husband and I since we moved to the country. I think of it whenever I get another reminder that I haven't yet shook off city thoughts and habits. It happened again this past weekend.
On our trip to Haliburton, we had to stop and ask directions to the street we needed. We saw a group of people standing near a firehall and with them were a number of dogs. I assumed that it was a show of some sort and, after getting the directions, I asked if that was what was happening. The man looked at me oddly and replied that it was a rabies clinic. When I told this story to my rural friends, they all immediately knew what the dog owners were doing.
With the arrival of fall, comes another reminder. My husband is an avid hunter. When we lived in the city, very few of the people we knew shared his passion. However, in this area, most of the men hunt. Those that don't still have to adjust to the season. Last year when I was getting my satallite internet put in, everything was put on hold for a couple of weeks while the technician went hunting.
I suppose the time will come when none of this will be a novelty but I hope I never get so acclimatized that I don't notice the beauty of my surroundings. Dorothy was anxious to return to her home in Kansas but I am happy in Oz.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weather, Quilting and a Mystery

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. We have had a few good weather days which is especially welcome when it has been cool and damp. My husband and I went to Haliburton to visit a couple who have been my friends for over 35 years. It is a 2 hour drive but the scenery is lovely and, as I mentioned, the weather good so it was an enjoyable trip.
Today was the regular meeting of our quilt group. Most of the women are working on a scrappy bargello and, although everyone is an experienced quilter, there was a lot of table grouping as we all tried to help each other. There was also a lot of half audible mutterings as well as laughter as we worked on our projects. By the end of the day, everyone could see how their quilt was going to turn out. I really enjoy getting together with these women. Everyone shares what they know, their supplies if someone forgets something and a bit of their lives. Each session is different. Sometimes it seems as though we do more visiting than sewing and other times all you can hear is the hum of sewing machines. It is interesting to think of how many women have met like this through the years.
Have you started the mystery quilt yet? I have heard from some of you and I am pleased to know that you are getting along without any problems. I am doing it as well so, hopefully, if there are any mistakes, I will correct them before writing up the next step. Of course, I wasn't paying attention to my own pattern and cut a bunch of squares wrong!
Have a happy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mystery Quilt-Week One

Hello everyone. Thank you again for joining in on this, my first mystery quilt. As I said in yesterday's blog, I hope to do these on a regular basis.

Note: all directions are given in both metric and imperial as we have quilters from 4 countries joining in. In Canada, we buy in metric and work in imperial but I will write everything in metric. Imperial will be in brackets. It will be a little confusing for those of us in Canada but I hope you will be able to follow along. You might want to highlight the measurments that you are going to use before starting. There isn't a lot of measuring so it shouldn't present a real problem.

Theme Fabric: Some of the squares in the pattern will be replaced by theme fabric. You can use pictures of cats, gardening, childrens toys, numbers etc. You can chose to use more of the themed fabric in your quilt but, I would suggest that it not be greater than half of the light fabric. This can be a great 'search and find' quilt for a young child.

All seams are a 6 mm (1/4 in.). (It is actully 6.35mm but I don't think we need to get that picky)
This quilt can be done as a scrappy. It will be very effective if you choose very bright, vibrant colours for the darks: scarlett, tangerine, sunflower yellow etc.

Rotary Cutter
Ruler and Mat
Sewing Machine and neutral coloured thread

Measurements based on fabric that is 1 meter (40 in.) wide.

1/4 meter (10 in) of two light coloured fabrics
1/4 meter (10 in.) of two bright coloured fabrics
1/2 meter (20 in.) of two bright coloured fabrics
1 meter (1 yard) of theme fabric (for border and blocks)
1/2 meter (20 in.) border fabric
1 1/2 meter (1 3/4 yards) backing fabric
Piece of batting 1 meter X 1.30 meter (39 in. x 51 in.)

If you are doing scrappy, you will need: 98 squares of bright, 37 of light and 5 themed.

Cut all light fabric into 9 cm (3 1/2 in. ) strips
Cut all the bright fabrics into 9 cm (3 1/2 in) strips.
Cut 5-9 cm (3 1/2 in) squares from theme fabric.
Save the rest of the fabric for borders.

See you next weekl
Any problems, please contact me at
Happy sewing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tomorrow's Pattern

I have had a wonderful response to the Mystery Quilt. I am pleased so many of you like my idea and if all goes well, I will certainly do more. If you have friends who you think may be interested in doing the quilt, by all means, let them know. I am glad of a chance to give back to the quilting community as I have been the recepient of so many 'freebies'.
Met a dear friend for lunch today in our closest city. Bought some fabric, of course. I am planning on doing the mystery along with you as it is going to be a gift and this new material will suit it nicely.
A short posting today as we are out this evening. All those who won prizes at our local fall fair will get their awards this evening. My husband and I are going and I am looking forward to seeing how it is all done. Big night in Burk's Falls!!!
I am planning on having the first step of the Mystery Quilt posted in the morning so good luck to everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Blog

When I started writing this blog, I had two goals in mind. One was to talk about the things that interested, irritated or impressed me and the other was to provide a place where I could share my love of quilting. As I am a writer, the blog also gives me a chance to work on that craft however, quilting is my main focus. If you have been with me from the beginning (or have read through past posts), you will be aware that I have occassionally offered to share a pattern. I would now like to go a step further and teach a mystery quilt. For those of you who are not quilters, a mystery quilt is a pattern that is revealed in steps. Participants don't know what the project will look like until the last step is posted. (Of course, you can cheat, wait until all the instructions are posted and then see if it is something you would like to do but you wouldn't do that, would you?)
This will be a simple project for two reasons; first of all because this is the first time I have done this and I don't want to go beyond my capabilities and, secondly, I would like it to be something a non-quilter could do.
So, if you always wanted to make a quilt here is your chance to start. Your finished product will make a great Christmas gift. This Friday, you will be told how much fabric you will need and how to cut it. You will have a week to get this and each following step finished as they will be posted each Friday.
You will also be able to contact me for additional help if you need it. If you have never quilted and would like to start now, get in touch with me at: and I will let you know what notions (ruler, rotary cutter etc) you will need. Don't worry if you can't keep up with everyone. You can print off the pattern steps or just check the back posts.
Let us all have some fun together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How Much is Enough

Two vastly conflicting stories have got me thinking-again-about the worlds inequalities. My husband and I recently watch a show about a family in dire straights. They had eleven children, six of whom had been taken from an unfit mother, and lived in a home that was not only very small but very rundown. Despite the circumstances, the family members obviously loved each other and were doing the best they could.
Contrast this with the recent Russian moon flight with a multimillionaire paying 34 million dollars to go along as a tourist. Yes, it was his money and yes, he used the publicity to promote the need of preserving world water supplies but the whole thing left me wondering where our priorities had gone. It is possible that this individual spends a great deal of money on charitable projects but all those in need would see is a vast waste of money.
Having said all that, I think many people could put at least some of their resources to better use.
How many pairs of shoes do we really need? How many handbags, items of clothing etc are necessary? Of course, I am not going to mention the pile of fabric I have and how often I add to it (including today).
I don't think we need to give up all our pleasures but we should be aware of opportunities to share our bounty with those in need. And, most of all, to continue in the mood of the weekend just past, we need to be thankful for what we have.

Monday, October 12, 2009


It is now Monday evening and I have finished my second Thanksgiving meal. On Saturday, we had 17 family and friends at our house. It was a wonderful day. The weather was nice enough that people were able to go for a walk and visit out of doors. Some of the men ate outside also which helped ensure there was enough space for everyone to have a table of some sort.
Today, our next door neighbours invited my husband and I over for their first Thanksgiving in their new home. They bought the property next to ours and originally planned to move in in five years. However, a series of events caused a change of plans and a flurry of activity made it possible for them to live there now. The husband, who is a contractor as well as a skilled handyperson, converted a garage that was on the property into a small but comfortable home. They will add on to it in the spring but they have a snug one bedroom house until then. They are great people and we are glad to have them living there so soon.
We are starting to get a bit of snow. It isn't staying on the ground but it is fair warning that winter will arrive in the not to distant future. We finished getting the garden ready, put away lawn furniture, garden gnomes and other bits and pieces today. Tomorrow I have my snow tires put on the car. I never bothered with them when we lived in the city but they really are a necessity here.
In between all that activity, I got my studio organized once again in time for some serious pre-Christmas sewing.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 9, 2009

First Quilts and Beyond

Quilting, and my understanding of it, has changed a great deal over the years. When I first decided to make a quilt, I had absolutely no idea of how they were done. I am sure I didn't know that seams should be a quarter inch wide. I certainly wasn't aware that 100 percent cotton should be used or how close the top stitching should be. Despite all that, I did manage to produce a red and blue flannel quilt for my son. I then decided to do one completely by hand. The diamonds were cut from templates, sewn together with the borders added all without benefit of a sewing machine. A major undertaking. That quilt was also for my son. He recently celebrated his fortieth birthday and it still isn't done! I have, of course, made dozens since starting that one and I expect that, one day, it will get finished.

Since those early days, my sewing machines have got progressively more complicated-and expensive. I have a wall full of various gadgets, rulers and rotary cutters. I also have software on my computer that helps me design, see how much fabric I need and print out the templates for patterns. Electric Quilt (EQ) is a wonderful innovation and I use it constantly. It doesn't take the place of having a good basic knowledge of the rules for quilting but it makes following those rules much, much easier.

It will be interesting to see what other developments there will be in this craft I enjoy so much. The quilt block that accompanies this blog is one I designed on EQ. I call it Progression as it is such a far cry from my early quilts. If you would like the pattern, let me know. If you would like to see what it looks like in a quilt, I can send you a photo