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.