Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

It is hard to believe we have already completed a decade into the new century.  Time does pass quickly and yet when I look back over the past 10 years, it doesn't seem possible that so much has hapened in such a short time.
We will have our usual quet evening at home and probably go to bed long before the new year rolls in.  I  have to put the phone on the beside table as there is always someone who phones at midnight to pass on their greetings.  Of course, those someone's have usually been indulging in some alcoholic refreshments.  I don't mind the calls.  It would be a sad day if no-one thought of me no matter what the reason.
I hope the coming year is one which presents enough challenges to keep you interested and growing, and days of tranquility when you are able to appreciate your blessings.  I hope also that you will always know that you are loved and you are making a difference.
Thank you for your faithfulness and your encouragement.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Photos

I took some photos of our little dog by the Christmas tree last night.  I have to laugh every time I look at them as she looks so sad. We often humiliate our pets, don't we and the poor souls try so hard to please us.  Dogs do anyway.  Cats, even my beloved and dearly missed, tascha, tend to be a bit more independant.
I also took some photos of a few of my nativity scenes.  I have been collecting them for a number of years and no longer have room to display them all.  Here are a few of the more unusual ones.

Poor Heidi

First nations


Stacking dolls

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New year Minus Five (and a Pattern)

I hope you all had a memorable Christmas Day.  We spent ours with family which is, if you are able, always the best.
Today, I am starting to put the house back to pre-Christmas condition.  I will leave the tree and house decorations up until the new year but am storing wrapping paper, gift bags, cards etc.  A number of years ago, I made a simple draw string bag to hold all these things.  I added a pouch on the front to hold labels, ribbon and the smaller items. (Instructions at the bottom of the page.)  This year, I will note on my calendar that this is where I have put everything because I tend to forget.  I especially forget that I bought cards the previous year when they were on sale.
Yesterday, we went to town and did a bit of Boxing Day shopping.  I bought more gift bags and paper as well as some other odds and ends.  We got one of those digital photo frames so had to get a memory card.  (Didn't know there were differences and so bought the wrong one).
My husband bought me snowshoes so we are going for a walk this afternoon  and I can try them out.  Looking forward to being able to go for walks through the bush again.
I am going to do a bit of rearranging in my quilt room office as I need a place to put my growing pin cushion collection.  But, before I get into that, I am going to enjoy a cup of tea and look through some of the quilt things I received.

Christmas Storage Bag
This bag is washable and reusable for years.

1 piece fabric 40"  x 30"  (Size can be adjusted to suite needs)
1 piece fabric 10" x  15"
Small bit of velcro
Cord for drawstring.


Fold one long edge down 1/2" and then fold again and top stitch.
Fold this edge in half lengthwise and mark the center. 
Sew a small piece of velcro onto the seam at the center.
Fold large piece of fabric in half lengthwise (to make 40 x 15 piece)
Lightly press fold and open fabric.
Center smaller piece of fabric onto one side of the large piece and sew around three sides.  Leave side with velcro open.
Attach the other part of the velcro to the larger fabric so the two pieces meet.
Sew side and bottom of large fabric, right sides together. turn right side out.
Turn top eged down twice to make a tunnel for the drawstring. DO NOT SEW.  Press and unfold.  Make two small button holes approx. 1/2" apart just under the lowest fold.
Refold and sew making sure the seam is below the buttonholes.  Using buttonhole openings, thread cord through tunnel. Tie a knot on each end of the cord to prevent it from slipping back into the tunnel.

Note:  you can use velcro or a zipper to close the top instead of the drawstring.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Unto Us a Child is Born

This will be my last post until Dec. 28th.  I am assuming you are busy wrapping gifts, perhaps travelling, visiting family and friends and don't have time to be sitting at your computer and wondering what I am up to.
I leave you with this photo and my wishes for a wonderful, peaceful and safe Christmas.
This picture is from a live nativity that the Edmonton church I attended puts on.  It consists of real animals, costumed characters, bonfires, a choir of angels and the manager scene.  The baby is real.  May it remind you of the reason behind the season.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Just three more sleeps until Christmas.  I am pretty much ready although I have a bit of last minute shopping to do and one gift to finish.
One of the on line quilting groups to which I belong has started a block swop.  Participants are making a 12 1/2" block with the maple leaf pattern.
This is the first time I have done a swop although this group (as do many others) have ongoing ones.
The pattern we are using is from The Quilter's Cache, Marcia Hohn's excellant site.
If you are a new quilter, this is a must have link:
Marcia has a myriad of free patterns, listed according to size, style and difficulty.
This photo is another one that I took yesterday.  This morning the sun is shining and it looks as though the good weather is going to continue through Christmas; good news for those who are travelling.  I have been watching the weather caused airport problems and thinking ahead to 2012 when we will be in England around this time for a nephew's wedding.  I hope there won't be any problems that year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Surrounded by Beauty

Did you watch the lunar eclipse last night?  I woke up around 1 ish to go to the toilet and took a look outside.  The moon was just a sliver a sliver of light.  Earlier in the evening, however, before we went to bed it was shining in full glory.  We turned out the interior lights and stood at the east facing window for quite a while marvelling at how visible everything was.
In the city, if there was a full moon, it hardly made a difference in visibility because of all the street and security lights.  Here in the backwoods where the only illumination comes from the sky, it is quite wonderous.
We were treated to yet another marvellous sight this morning.  The tops of the tallest trees had been painted with frost and, as the sun came up, it added a glint of gold.  I grabbed my camera and went outside without a coat and took a number of photos.  I just kept pointing and clicking.  The photos don't really do justice to the beauty but it was quite a sight.
We got the other side of rural living later in the day when my son came for a visit and got stuck in our laneway.  It is a bit of a nasty drive and you have to be prepared for the slight curve that becomes a hill.  He wasn't and although he is a professional driver, he got stuck.  He and my husband are outside right now trying to get his van moving again.  I suspect the neighbour will have to come over with his tractor and pull him out.  Getting stuck, as fustrating as it can be,  is, to me, a small price to pay for living in such a wonderland.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nothing Important Today

The title says it all; I can't think of anything interesting to share this morning so I guess I will just chatter.
And now that I have said that, I can't even think of anything to chatter about!
This reminds me of when I was a columnist for an Ontario newspaper.  I did a 500 word article each week and usually didn't have a problem coming up with a topic.  Once in a while, however, the creative cupboard came up empty.  When that happened, I would write about having nothing to write about.  It is amazing how you can go on about nothing for 500 words-great training for my political stint.
I have often noticed other columnists do this and it always makes me smile.  I am reminded of the quote (and at the moment I don't know who said it) 'he/she talked until they had something to say'.
Some writing instructors say that you should wait until inspiriation strikes before you sit at the keyboard.  Personally, I have found that knowing I had a deadline or a bill to pay did more for my creativity than waiting for a sudden thunderbolt.  Of course, most days I do have something that I hope will be interesting to share.  How can I not when I have a wonderfully cute dog, live surrounded by nature and have an interesting hobby.
I could have told you this morning how Heidi always skids to a stop when returning something I have thrown for her or how the snow is falling so gently that you are hardly aware of it.  I could also have mentioned the gifts I still have to make and the quilt that I am finishing but none of those topics seemed worthy of posting.  So, I hope you will forgive me today for just writing about nothing.  You can put it down to Christmas business although it is probably not the reason.
Have a great weekend.  Try not to wear yourself out getting the last of your shopping finished.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dec. BOM-Winter Storm

This block was designed in remembrance of the storm that stranded so many motiorists in southern Ontario.

You can use whatever colours you desire but my choice was predominately pale fabrics to represent the white out conditions that occured.  The deeper blue represents the passing of the storm and return to blue skies.

For the blue corners, cut a 6 7/8 square.  Cut the square in half diagonally
Cut 2 more squares the same size one from grey and the other from mauve.  Cut these in half diagonally.
Cut two 3 3/8 squares, one from grey and the other from the mauve and cut in half as before.
Sew a smaller grey triangle to a mauve.  Repeat with the remaining triangle.
Sew each of these pieces to the blue triangle
Sew a larger grey triangle to a mauve and repeat with the remaining triangles.
Using photo as a guide sew the four blocks together .


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

The title of today's blog isn't the start of a Beethoven symphony but a reaction to something I did yesterday.  I try to take our little Westiepoo, Heidi for a walk every day and, although it was cold, Monday was no exception.  I put a fleecy vest over my indoor clothes, donned my warmest coat, boots and gloves and dressed Heidi in her little coat.  After stopping to fill the bird feeder, we headed for the trail that goes through our bush and into my sister's.  My husband has cleared a path through the trees that takes me on a circuitous route that leads back into our yard. 
He hadn't had time to pack it down after our recent snowfall but I didn't think of that as Heidi and I made our way to the path.  I hadn't gone very far before realizing it was going to be rough going.  The ATV tracks weren't very wide so it was hard to walk in them.  However, I kept moving.  Eventually the trail ended where my husband turned around to come back.  By now the snow was nearly to my knees (and I am tall) and Heidi was having problems.  I am not sure why I didn't turn back but for some reason I thought I should keep going to the driveway (unplowed)  on my sister's property.  The snow kept getting deeper.  I could only go a few steps before having to stop to catch my breath.  Heidi was doing her best to follow behind but, when I turned to check on her, I could see she was not doing well.  She was hiccuping (probably from swallowing snow) and trembling.  I picked her up and continued.  I was glad I brought my walking stick as that helped me keep my balance.
On I went stopping for longer periods and wondering if I was going to have a heart attack and collapse in the snow. Eventually, we got to the end of the driveway and onto the road.  Our neighbour was clearing his drive so I made my way to his steps and sat. Heidi normally goes crazy when she sees people but she just cuddled on my lap while I held her close to keep her warm.  Her hair was one mass of snowballs.
Our neighbour, who must have thought I was crazy, kept suggesting I go in their house but I insisted that I would be okay in a few minutes.  After catching my breath, we walked down the road and up our long driveway to the house.  My husband met me at the door as he had been wondering why I had been gone so long.  He removed the dog's leash and coat, I kicked off my boots, dropped my coat and collapsed on the couch.
It took me a bit before I started to feel somewhat normal again and then I had to put poor Heidi's legs into some warm water to remove the snow.
I will go for a walk again today but I think I will stick to the road.
I do have this month's BOM designed but will post tomorrow before going to town to do my shopping.
Stay warm and safe,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Indeed

If you have been watching the news report today,  you will notice that Ontario is having some winter problems.  Strangely enough, it is all happening in the south.  Here in the backwoods it has been a normal winter.  We did get a bit of a storm on the weekend which made me wonder if I would be able to get to our quilt group Christmas gathering on Monday.  However, when the day arrived, the snowplows had cleared the road and our neighbour (wonderful man) had done our driveway so off I went.
Today, it is minus 13 although the wind chill has taken it below 20 celcius.  I am going to take Heidi for a walk later so I will have to make sure she has on her fleecy coat.
We put up our bird Christmas tree on the weekend.  My husband had done some clearing so we could see the pond a bit better and brought a nice spruce up to the house.  We stuck it in a snow bank and have decorated it with a few garlands and some bird treats-suet balls etc.
Our wood stove has been doing a wonderful job of keeping the house warm and it is nice to see the flames when the snow is swirling around outside.  We also have the fireplace video on on television which is rather odd but we like to hear the Christmas music that is being played.
We have had more people join this blog as followers.  Welcome.  I hope you enjoy reading about my life in the backwoods of Ontario.  I have been  posting a BOM on the 15th of each month so you may want to check back posts.  There are also mystery quilts, other patterns and some tips.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Poor Heidi

I often comment on how energetic our wee dog Heidi is.  Today is not one of those times.  I took her to the vet yesterday for her check up and needles and she has been acting like an elderly lady all morning.  She will soon be back to normal but it is a bit strange to see her just laying around.
I finished all the baking today and am just waiting for the bread to rise before popping it into the oven.  You would think that we would be having a nice home cooked meal tonight, wouldn't you, considering all the time I've been spending in the kitchen.  Nope.  Tonight it is pizza and last night it was redressed left overs. Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband.
I have started making some seat belt strap covers for gifts.  Yesterday, I took a quilt out of the frame so I could turn it around and do the side borders.  I have everything set up for smaller quilts so save room during this busy season so I have to do my quilts in two steps.  After the new year, I will put the extension back on and get back at doing some of my bigger tops.
Are you in an area that has been getting all the snow?
We have received a few inches.  I am sure we will get a lot more as the winter goes on.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

S. S. Day

One of the on-line groups to which I belong has a Secret Santa event each year.  Participants get the name, address and a list of information about the person to whom they send a gift.  When everyone has received their parcel, we are given the go ahead to open.  Those who receive their parcel the earliest get a little antsy by the time the last one arrives.  Today, we were given the go ahead to open our gifts.
I had placed mine under my sewing table and did my best to not think about it.  There were a couple of times when I almost peeked but I managed to hold off.
This morning, I woke up and lay in bed for a while listening to my husband make his coffee.  Suddenly, I remembered, 'this is Thursday'.  I popped out of bed and got my parcel and opened it before I had breakfast.  My S.S. sent me some lovely gifts but I think the nicest of all is knowing that she was thinking of me and what I might like as she went about her shopping.  And that, my friends, is how Christmas should be celebrated-thinking of others.
Christmas, especially, is a time of doing for others-gifts, time, charitable donations. I sometimes feel discouraged when I look at my income in comparison to the things I would like to give or do but cost can never outdo thoughfulness.
As you go about your Christmas preperations, take a moment to give someone the gift of your smile.  It will make a difference to the other person (especially if it is a store clerk or a mother in a check out line with a number of small children) and your day will feel brighter.

To those who recently have become followers of this blog, welcome.  Be sure to check the back posts for mystery quilts and other patterns.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baking Frenzy and a Quilting Tip

My husband has just left for the city to buy more baking supplies-oh, and to pick up his chainsaw.  I have been cooking all morning and there are still some things I want to do and I have run out of butter, eggs and parchment paper.
I discovered the wonder of lining cookies sheets with parchment paper some time ago and it has greatly reduced the burnt underside.  My husband is a bit disappointed, however, as he always got to have those cookies.
I have, so far, made approx. 2 dozen cookies, 3 mini Christmas cakes, and a pan of buttertart squares.  I have lemon squares (my personal favourite.  It uses conensed milk and I make my own) and chelsea buns to do when husband returns.
I really like the mini cakes to give as gifts and am in the process of changing and doubling the recipe.  When I see how it turns out, I will post it for you.  These cakes are cooked in the mini loaf pans and I like to make enough to freeze for later or to give as last minute gift.  Another plus, is that they don't have to be made weeks ahead which is good for me as I am not that organized.

A Quilting Tip

When I use sashing in my quilts, I always used to have problems lining up the vertical strips when assembling.  Here is how I solved the problem.
When you sew on a horizontal strip and before you press, mark the vertical strips placements on it.  With the horizontal strip still laying over the block row, (to which you just added the strip) take a pencil and mark where each of the vertical pieces are.  I put a mark at either side of each strip to make sure I am perfectly lined up.  You are marking on the unsewn side of the horizontal strip and your marks should dark enough to be visible but not extend beyond a 1/4 inch. (They will be hidden when you add the next row.)
It is now a simple matter to line up the vertical strips of the new block row when you sew it to the previous horizontal strip.
Repeat until all rows are added.

And now back to the baking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Parade

Saturday was a lovely day for the Burk's Falls Christmas parade.  I am not sure how many entries there were but I am  there seemed to be more than last year.  It is always fun watching the children both in the parade and on the sidelines.  One little lad that was standing near me seemed to get more and more excited as each entry passed.  I am not sure if it was the anticipation of all the candy that was being handed out or the approach of Santa but he was in continual motion.
Our float didn't win anything this year but we all had fun. 
After the parade, we saw our participants back to their vehicles, unloaded the float and went home.  I left all the costumes in a couple of bins to be sorted and washed later and my husband and I sat down for a nice hot cup of chocolate.
Our parade may not be as grand as those in larger communities but it is still great.  Many people put in a lot of time and effort on their entries, the organization of the event and the judging.  Because those people are our friends and neighbours, there is a special feeling of community that isn't often experienced.
I am already making plans for next years float.  I  have been offered a large yellow bird.  Perhaps I can turn it into a donkey!!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I have had a request for the Curry Pumpkin Soup recipe that I mentioned in a previous blog and  as there may be others who would like to try it, I thought I would post it today.
I have changed it slightly, doubling the ingredients.

Serves 4
3 tsps butter
4 1/2 tsp.  all purpose flour
3 tsps curry powder
2 c. vegtable broth
3 c. of pureed pumpkin
1/2 c plus 4 tbsp half and half cream (I used canned evaporated.
3 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. white sugar
Salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in flour and curry until smooth.  Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble.  Gradually whisk in broth and cook until thickened.  Stir in pumpking and milk.  Season with soy, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.

A nourishing soup after  snowshoeing, shovelling the drive, cutting wood or for company.
I serve mine with home baked buns.
The original recipe came from and was submitted by Mary Ingram.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fairy Land

I woke up this morning about 7.30 and took a peek out side.  When I saw how lovely it looked, I got up.  It had snowed all night and, as it was large wet flakes, they stuck to everything. I grabbed my camera, let the dog out and took this picture.
A couple of hours later we were on our way to Huntsville and we both kept exclaiming over how lovely everything looked.
I think winter is the most beautiful time of year.  Each season has its beauty but nothing, in my opinion, surpasses winter.
We were hoping to get quite a bit of shopping done today as I wanted to start my baking.  However, we ran into a snag when we tried to use our debit card.  It came up NSF.  We knew there was more than enough money in the account to cover our shopping so were a little bewildered and somewhat concerned over what could have happened.  We got the majority of our purchases (by which time I was ready to go home.  I don't like shopping.) and headed up.  We stopped in the bank on the way and found that a check we deposited weeks ago still hadn't cleared.  The teller took care of that for us.  The problem could have been so much worse.

Quilting Hint:  One of the things I purchased today was a hand mirror-the kind with a handle.  I often need to check the back of my quilt when it is on the frame and that can be a bit of a problem.  Now I can put the mirror between the rollers and see if everything is working alright.

Of course, we always have to get something for the dog whenever we go to town and today we brought back a toy shaped like a boomerang that, naturally, has a squeaker in it.  She loves it.  I wanted to get a rubber chicken but my husband didn't think that was a good idea.  Think I will let Santa bring it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bah! Humbug!

All our lovely snow is gone.  It has rained for the past two days; quite heavily at times, and our yard is at spring time conditions.  It is wet and muddy.  I suppose it is a welcome reprieve for those who have not yet put up their Christmas lights or winterized their vehicles but I am disappointed.
Nevertheless, I soldier on.  I have a huge stew cooking on the wood stove and I am decorating the tree and house today.  When I look at all the totes my husband brought in and see that all of them are marked as containing Christmas decorations, it is a bit overwheleming.  Especially as I know that there are more of them waiting that containing the  nativity scenes I collect.
Decorating, as with life, starts with the first step so, as soon as I finish my tea and writing this, I shall remove lids and find the container that holds the balls, little sleighs, hand made things etc.  Once I get started it will be easy enough.  Our tree has the lights attached so that dreaded part no longer has to be done.
It will be wonderful to see all our treasures once again and I know the house will look lovely, if crowded.
I hope, no matter what the weather, you have started to feel the Christmas spirit.  There is only 24 days left!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sounds of Christmas

We had an especially busy weekend which is normal for this time of year.  Today, I am playing catch up and getting some housework done.  I did plan to go out later this afternoon to help a friend with her computer but will have to see if our roads are passable.  Right now they are glare ice following yesterday's thaw and last's nights freeze.
As I work in the office, my husband is in the kitchen cutting up our last pumpkin.  I want to make some pumpkin curry soup and freeze the rest of the pulp for later.  Dear hubby hasn't had much experience with this job-although he volunteered, so the jolly sounds of frustrated mutterings each time the knife slips is filling the house with cheer. He is planning on a big pumpkin crop next year and I told him that it is all fun and games until you have to peel the things!  Nice to have a man that shares the household duties though and he will forget the experience once he gets a nice bowl of soup.
We are going to be decorating the tree and house this week as my brother, son and their wives are coming over on Saturday to watch our Christmas parade and then to our house for a late lunch.

Friday, November 26, 2010


As you can see by the photo, we are getting a snow fall.  This is Heidi sitting on my sewing machine table and watching the birds in the feeder just outside the window.  Earlier this morning, my husband and I went over to our church to work on some decorations for the Christmas parade float.  We had to scrape the vehicle windows before leaving as the rain that had fallen through the night had frozen.  When we got home, we made some hot chocolate and I drank that while looking out at the falling snow, listening to the radio and thinking how wonderful life was. 
I don't have any more sceduled work today so I can spend it sewing and watching the world ouside change to white.  I am glad I filled the bird feeders yesterday as our little feathered neighbours are going to need the seed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weather and QIAB

We are supposed to get freezing rain today so I guess I will have to stay inside and quilt.  Oh, pooh! 
I finished quilting the book sample quilt and am doing the binding now.  Once that is finished, it is on to the writing part.
Yesterday evening, after watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, I did a mini cleaning of my room.  I have another scrappy quilt I would like to do and, after I put all the strips from the book quilt into a bag, found that I have almost enough for this project.
The design I was working on yesterday is also a scrappy and I am sure I have enough left over strips from another project to do that.  My husband loves it when I tell him that I am working on 'no cost' quilts.  Even though he isn't a quilter, he knows the fabric had to originate from somewhere and that somewhere was a store.  Still, it does make you feel better doesn't it!
I am really trying to complete all the quilt in a bag ideas I have.  You know what a QIAB is, don't you.  That is all those bits of fabric you have stored with the pattern in a baggie to do someday. Usually you are waiting for (a) to find the perfect fabric to add, (b) time, (c) all of the above.  Of course, while you are waiting, you are adding more baggies to the pile!
My other challenge is to try and finish all these QIUB's and other projects without buying additional fabric other than batting.    I may buy fabric 'just because' as I am, after all, merely human although I am trying to limit that-the buying not the humanity.
I am going to have one more go at designing that pattern and, if I have problems, I will just do it on paper.  I would like to be able to do it in EQ as it helps me work out the fabric amounts. 
Maybe my next book should be on scrappy quilts.  Guess I had better finish this one first!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Power Outage

On Monday, I got a call saying that the hydro company was scheduling an outage from 9 to noon today.  So, this morning we had our showers early, filled a pot with water for the toilets, left off the computer and dishwasher.  Then we went outside to put up the Christmas lights.
I came back in an hour or so later and, as we still had power, made us mugs of hot chocolate.  Then as noon approached, I made lunch.  It seems a strange thing to say, but as we were all prepared to have no power, it was mildly irritating to have it stay on.
I put the computer on after lunch and washed the dishes.  After taking the dog for a walk, I sat down to design a quilt block that had been buzzing around in my head.  I was using the computer software program, EQ and, although it wasn't easy, I was making some progress.  Then, you guessed it, the power went out.  It was now 3 p.m.  It did click back on almost right away but I had lost my design.  Maybe I will try again tomorrow or just sketch it out on paper.
First I was irritated because the hydro didn't go out and then I was irritated because it did.  No pleasing some folk is there!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reuse, Recycle

Quilters are amongst the best recyclers in the world.  We can find a use for the smallest bits of fabric or thread. 
Today I have a couple of ideas to add to your 'reuse stash'.  The first is a useful object if you are a long arm quilter although others will find it a handy item as well. 
Quilters are always removing threads, snipping threads and untangling threads while they work.  A piece of batting draped over the shoulder is a good place to put them so they don't end up on the floor and either get tangled around the casters of a chair, eaten by the quilt cat or have to be swept up later (if kitty left any behind).  The size of the batting is personal preference but mine is approximately 5 inches wide by 10 inches long.  I like it long enough to have it drape over either side of the shoulder so it stays in place.  When I snip a thread, I just place it on the batting where it stays.
Pins are frequently being either stuck in a quilt or being removed.  Before I added a small pin cushion to my thread catcher, I was always moving  or searching for my other cushion.
The shoulder pin cushion shouldn't be very big and it should have something to stop the pin from going through the cushion and into your shoulder.  I cut the base from one of Heidi's dog food containers.  It is about 3 by 3.  I trim it so it is approximately an inch smaller  (2 X 2)  Place a small amount of stuffing on the base and cover with fabric.  I make an envelope of fabric slightly larger than the base and slip the base/stuffing inside.  Slip stitch opening closed. (This pattern can be used to make a small take along pin cushion for going to quilt classes or group.  Any lightweight plastic is suitable for the base.  I use the entire dog food container for my take along.  The sides of the little dish keep the pins controlled.  Heidi eats Cesar dog food but there are similiar sized pet food containers for both cats and dogs.  Some are a thin metal and this, too, would work.)
Pin the cushion to the thread catcher batting.  You will need to change your batting as it gets full of threads so it is best if the cushion removes easily.

Other Batting Uses

Batting, no matter the price or fibre content,  is useful in a number of ways.  Hot pads, coasters, change mats etc are all handy items.  However, you can also use the batting as a duster.  It can replace those 'static' cloths that seem to be the latest cleaning innovation.  Find a left over piece that is approx. the size of your mop, put it on the floor, place your mop on it and dust.  Another bit can be used to do your shelves etc.  Dust seems be attracted to the fibre batting like beet juice to a white tablecloth
If you are moving, place bits of batting between your china dishes to prevent breakage.  You can also make small bags from batting to store your good crystal, glassware and other breakables.  I am sure you can think of many similar uses.  If you would like to share your ideas with me, I will post them for others to use.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I gave Heidi a bath this morning followed by a good brushing and removal of tats.  When I was finished , she looked like a marshmallow.  She reminded me of the cartoon cats who used to get caught in the clothes dryer and, when the door opened, would float out like a balloon of hair and eyes.  (I wonder how many children thought that putting kitty in the dryer was a fun thing to do after watching those shows.)
I am finally starting to get into the Christmas sewing mood.  My husbands family isn't drawing names this year.  Everyone is giving small making it yourself or dollar store type gifts.  The children, of course, will get bought for as before.  I was reading a posting on one of the quilt groups this morning and got my inspiration.  I won't tell you what it is as some of those family members read my blog.
We got a skiff of snow last night.  It is amazing how just a little bit of white on the ground makes the night seem so much brighter.  The moon was playing peekaboo behind the clouds but when it did show its nice full face through the tree branches it made for a pretty sight.
I have always preferred rather stark photos or paintings.  A single leafless tree in a snowy field, a sagging barn, or a horse silhouetted on a hill when hold my attention much longer than something full of colour.  Strangely, that preference isn't reflected in my quilts but that is perhaps because my skill isn't sufficient.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stolen Quilts and Shopping

Those of us who quilt know how much time and expense goes into our creations.  This is especially true for those who create for shows and other exhibits.  Unfortunately, sometimes these masterpieces get stolen.  I cannot imagine how griefstricken the quilt owner must feel when they discover the loss. 
Some of these stolen quilts are sold at fleemarkets, on line auction sites or in newspapers. 
If you see a quilt for sale, check to see if there is a label on the back or a place where one used to be.  If possible, ask a few questions such as who made the quilt, the contents of fabric (cotton, silk etc).  The seller should have some information.  Of course, they could always say it belonged to their mother or other family member but it should be fairly obvious that the fabric and designs are recent.
There is also a web site you can check.
Some of the stories will break your heart.  There are also sites owned by quilters who have had their work-sometimes going back for years-stolen.  Please keep your eyes open for these quilts and, if you are at a show, watch for suspicious activity.
We went to Huntsville to do some shopping today.  I boughts some batting, thread and a few other sewing needs.  Then I did a bit of grocery shopping before having lunch.  After getting home, putting everything away and enjoying a cup of tea, we took the dog for a walk.  It was obvious that Heidi was feeling the need for some exercise as she dashed around in circles like a demented rabbit.Oh, for a quarter of that energy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BOM for November

Here is this months block.  You can make this block as shown or replace the small squares with strips.  The center square can be a focus fabric or a place for signatures for a wedding or other celebration.

From the purple fabric cut:
Two 7 x 7" squares.  Cut in half diagonally for the corners.
One 6 1/4" square for the center
Twenty 2" squares

Sew small squares together to make 4 strips.  Sew strips to center block.  Sew corner triangles to each side.  Press.  Trim if necessary.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Travels

This month is already half way past and I haven't even caught up with the fact that we are in November already.  These past two weeks have been especially busy with my sister's visit and my son's move.  I have also been finishing a quilt top  that will be included in my book as well as trying to keep up with housework.
The quilt top just needs the borders and then will go into the frame for quilting.  I think I am going to have to make another trip to the fabric shop for backing but will check the stash first.  I am always finding things there that I forgot I had.
My monthly BOM was due on Monday and, I confess, it isn't ready yet.  I will post it tomorrow.
Our weather has turned a bit cooler.  Yesterday we had snow showers but today the sun is shining once again and it is just a bit too warm to start the wood stove.
If you were planning on entering my contest, you have two weeks to finish your project.  You can check the October 14th post for details.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Happened to Thursday

Well, yesterday got away on me.  I didn't even realize I hadn't posted until I came to do today's blog.  We went to Burk's Fall's Remembrance Day service yesterday morning.  I don't think I have missed a service since I have been an adult.  I think it is just one of those things we should do.
A man from our church and I laid a wreath of behalf of our congregation. 
There were about 500 people in attendance which is great for a community of 1,000.  It was a well organized and moving service.  Afterwards, we went to a restaurant for a cup of tea and then back home.  The weather was gorgeous-one man was wearing shorts-and it was nice to be out.
This morning I have taken my car in for service.  I got a loaner car so have been able to come back home while they do the work.  My vehicle is one of the ones that has had a recall so that has to be done along with the winter tires, oil change etc.
Wednesday, my son and his wife came for a visit.  This is just a wonderful thing for me to have them living so close.  He has got a job and now they are looking for a place to live.  I can't wait to begin to help them decorate their home with my quilts.  My nephew and his family are moving into their new home on Monday and I am really excited for them.  Of course, this means more quilt qifts.  Isn't life great.
I just caught up on reading some of the other blogs I follow.  Quilter in the Pines is making gifts as well.
Our temperature is supposed to be around 14 today which is amazing for November.  My husband is out chopping wood and enjoying the air.  After I retrieve my car, I will take the dog (and myself) for a walk.
In the meantime, a-quilting I will go.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mid Week

I had a lovely visit with my sister yesterday.  We walked around our property and over to our younger sisters land.  It is amazing to think that in a few years both my sisters will be living in the same country and province as I do.
It is a fact of life in Canada that many of use have parents and/or siblings in another country. I believe the same must be true for people living in the U.S. as both countries receive a lot of immigration.  I don't think those of us that moved from England think of ourselves as immigrants in the same sense as those from non-English speaking countries or who were fleeing persecution although we are, of course. I am here because my mother was a war bride.  We came to Canada on one of the first trans-Atlantic flights.  I don't think you lose your heart ties to your mother country but I am very glad to be living in Canada.
My husband came home from the hunt camp yesterday-a day early.  It is nice to have him back.  I feel safer at night knowing my big strong man is there to protect us. He brought with him an antique chest that had belonged to his Grandmother.  Her family brought it from Quebec in 1900.  It is a lovely piece of oak  (I'm guessing) furniture and, although we really don't have room for it just now, I am pleased to have it.  We were given Grandma's dishes shortly after we married and they have pride of place in the china cabinet.  They were made by Brimley in England and very good quality.  Family heirlooms are very special.  The ones from my family consist of jewelry and although I don't very often wear them, I do value them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trinkle, trinkle

We had a wonderful time with my nephews family and my sister (his mother) on Saturday.  The weather was nice which made the drive extra enjoyable.  After lunch, my little three year old great nephew entertained us with story and song.  His favourite tune was "trinkle, trinkle little star" which he sang a few times much to the delight of his adoring family.  Not satisfied with that achievement, he took one of his mother's books from the library shelf and, quite seriously, read us a story which involved mommy, daddy and grandma. 
His older sister, Ellie was busy being a mom with her newest doll considering herself, at five, being much too old for her brother's antics.  Ellie always asks 'where is the little dog' a number of times as she really likes Heidi despite the fact she has been scratched by her.  Heidi is still learning not to jump on people in her desire to show affection and has caught Ellie with her sharp little front claws.  They are moving to a bigger home with a nice large lot so I am planning on taking Heidi on our next visit.
We had left the dog with her caregiver and picked her up on our trip home. Irene had her and a couple of other dogs out for their evening walk when we arrived and they were a delight to see.  Three little dogs with special collars that had flashing lights being walked by two women in fluorescent safety vests.  Quite a sight and, I am sure, people watched from their windows as they passed.  Irene, as I have said a number of times, is an absolute wonder who puts the needs and safety of her little charges first.  I am so thankful to have Heidi as one of her adoptees.
Am still working on the scrappy heart quilt and the book sample one.  This will be a busy week with Remembrance Day, my sister coming here for a visit and taking the car in for its winter readiness.  I guess my quilting will have to be done in bits and pieces. Still, it does get done, doesn't it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fast Flees the Day

Here it is Friday again.  Another month well started and another week almost finished.  I got an order from a local store for one of my products yesterday so have been working on getting that filled as well as discussing a writing job with another person.  In the midst of this, I am making bread, doing regular housework stuff and thinking about what I need to do before going away tomorrow.  One of the things on the to do list is setting the clocks back.  I will do that tomorrow morning.
I have to take Heidi to her caregivers later today, will pick up the mail and drop off the store order on the way back. Then it is supper and perhaps get some more work done on the quilt book quilt.
I wonder what it is like to be bored.
My husband is going to his families hunt camp the first of this week so I may take some time to just read a book.  My sister is coming over next Tuesday so we can have a nice visit.
I put out some bird seed in the feeder yesterday and noticed that our little red squirrel has found it.  He doesn't realize that I put the cheaper stuff in that feeder as I knew he would be around.  The better quality seed will go into the squirrel proof (I hope) container.  I took a picture of the little guy enjoying his lunch but he was hidden in the shadows so it didn't come out as I hoped.  I am sure I will have more opportunities.
Have a great weekend,

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was a bad day for my aging joints.  My right hand, left ankle, right knee and neck hurt all day.  It has been quite damp but I think it is just the change of seasons that is bothering me.  I go through the same thing when we go from spring to summer.
In any case, I did get more work done on my quilt.  I just have three more blocks to make.  Each block has four different fabrics and, as I have not repeated any choices, it is getting a bit more challenging.  To add to the difficulty, each block has a theme i.e. colour or pattern.  This is a great stash buster pattern and I hope that those who buy the book will find it a fun project.
I started adding some of the sashing yesterday to give myself a mental break.  I am not sure if I will be able to do all the strips in the same fabric.  I have set myself a goal of using only what I have which shouldn't be a problem.  I certainly have lots of fabric, but as you know if you quilt, it isn't always the amount of fabric but the yardage in each bit.
We still haven't caught our last mousie.  Haven't seen any signs but I am sure he is still around.  Going into the village today to buy another product. Tomorrow I bake again.  My other sister is here from England and we are having a family get together on Sat.  I bring the buns. I am the bread lady in our family!
By the way, here is a very simple dessert.  Premade graham cracker crust, jar of jam, packaged pudding.  Spread jam evenly over the pie crust.  Swirl vanilla pudding over the top. I used my home made jam but any of the berry type bought ones would do-medium to large jar. The pudding was the type that comes in individual cups for lunches.  One was sufficient.  If you use no sugar added jam, this is a fairly low cal. desert.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Day of Accomplishment

My husband got his deer yesterday.  He went out again after supper.  I heard a shot around 6.30 just as I was thinking that he would soon be coming in.  He is happy and I am happy for him.
I had some home made risers done for my quilt frame and got them put on yesterday.  I also tightened up all the bolts and cleaned the runners.  Once I had that finished I took out the projects that needed quilting and, now I am going to have to put the extension back on the frame.  Drat. I prefer to not have it on as my quilt room isn't very big but, I guess if I am going to do things right, I better use it.
I have almost finished the blocks for one of the sample quilts for my book so that, too, is an accomplishment.
I have another handy tip for you.  This came from one of the ladies in our quilt group.  Remember that putty- like stuff that teacher used for putting art work etc on the wall?  It can also be used to hold your seam ripper to your machine.  I have three of them and still never have one where I need it.  My thread snips I have tied to  ribbons and then attached to various places I need them.  Couldn't come up with a solution for wandering seam rippers.  So now, thanks to Davina, I am off to the dollar store for some of that stuff.  Every group should have a Davina in it.  She is marvellous at finding new products or new uses for old ones.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beautiful Morning

Welcome to our newest member who is a proud mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  Be sure to look over the previous posts for free patterns, contest etc.
Those who have been members of this blog through the last winter season will know that I tend to get burbly around this time of year.  I love the winter.  I enjoy the cold, the snow and the gorgeous scenery.  This morning was typical with the sun turning the snow laden trees into a glistening beauty that no artist can reproduce.  I am so thankful that I have a big window in my quilt room and, while I am sewing, I can look out onto all this wonder.
I have a small quilting tip for you today:  If you make your half square triangles by sewing two blocks together and then cutting in half you may find this useful.  I always cut my blocks slightly larger than necessary and then trim the finished block to square.  If you don't do this properly, you could end up with a problem.  For explanation purposes, I will give each corner a letter-a,b,c.d.  If you trim a/b side, turn and trim b/c.  By doing this, your b corner will maintain a 90 angle and the two sections of the point will meet at the corner.  However, if your first trim did not remove any fabric from a corner, you don't need the second trim.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thank You

I don't usually post on Mondays as it is quilt group day and I am trying to get out the door on time.  This morning I got up a bit earlier and, as my husband is out hunting, I am a bit more organized.
The real reason, however, that I wanted to make the effort is to thank all those who commented on my last two posts.  They got more reaction than anything else I have written.  The mouse story, especially, seemed to strike a cord.  One person commented about mice in her mother's tea towel drawer.  I smiled, checked mine and, horrors, it was full of dog food as was the drawer above. A good cleaning followed.
We still haven't caught the mouse.
We had our first snowfall of the season this weekend.  I don't expect it will stay but it sure is lovely.
Last night, we dressed our wee dog, Heidi, in her scottish tam and cape and took her to a couple of neighbours for trick or treating.  She loved the attention, we had fun and the neighbours probably thought we were crazy.  Wait till they see her Santa outfit.
If you get the newletter from Quilter's Connection magazine, I had a pattern in this month's (Nov) issue.  I am now dilengetly working on the patterns for my book, Friendship Quilts, which should be ready for purchase in the spring.
Happy All Saint's Day,

Friday, October 29, 2010

One Little Mouse

I got a bit cooler yesterday so we decided to start the wood store.  I keep an old oven mitt hanging from the thing that holds the poker, brush, shovel etc. and I use it (sometimes) so I don't burn myself when adding wood.  When I took it from the hook, it thought it was a little heavy and then felt what seemed like small stones in the mitt part.  I looked inside and saw about a cup of our dogs dry food.  We thought she had been eating more than usual but now we can see what happened.
We had a mousie in the house recently and, even though we put out a trap, hadn't caught it.  No wonder.  It looks as though it was getting the dog food, carrying it through the kitchen and livingroom, up the stand and into the glove.  It must have thought it had found a wonderfully cosy place to spend the winter.  I dumped the food outside for the squirrels and the mitt into the garbage.
The ingenuity of the little creature amazed us.
We also now understand why Heidi was frantically eating her food anytime any of us came near her dish!

Bought some batting today to start my projects for the local craft fair and yesterday evening I got back to working on the samples for my book.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Wind in the Forest

Before I get into today's posting I must correct my spelling of our newest member's name.  Sorry, Lynda, I have a dear friend who uses the 'y' in her name and I usually try to make sure I get everyone's name spelt correctly.

Yesterday, we went to North Bay to visit my son and his wife.  How wonderful to be able to have them living so close to us.  It is barely an hours drive from our house and will be quicker once all the construction is finished.
After our visit, we did some shopping and then fought a head wind all the way home.  We got back in time for the hydro to go out so, as long as we had some natural light, I sorted through some papers in the quilt room and found patterns that I forgot I had.  After a candlelight supper, we played cards.  Hydro One estimated that service would be returned by seven and, sure enough, at 6.55, we had power.  It was just in time for me to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
I took this video as the wind was settling down and, as you can see, the trees are still moving.  These trees are approximately 100 feet tall.
We did have some come down the previous night and my husband had to remove one from the driveway before we could leave.  I think things are supposed to quiet down today so I can get back to my sewing and finish the big pot of chili I started the previous day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More UFO's to Finish

Welcome to new member Linda.  Be sure to check back postings for free patterns.  There is an on going Block of the Month-posted every 15th, and I started a contest on Oct 14th.
I delivered the bird quilt to its new home on Friday and it's owner was pleased with it. It is nice to be able to do something you love and get paid for it.  As I am still learning to operate my quilt frame and machine, I keep my prices lower to reflect my skill level.  I also try to put extra work into the blocks and piecing to make up for the quilting. 
One of the wonderful things about this craft is that there is always something new to learn.  One of the ladies who belongs to an on line quilt group just posted her excitement about successfully completing a few rows.  All of us who read it, could indentify with the feeling.
I have decided to tackle one of the projects that I gave up on some time ago.  The blocks consists of the lone star pattern and I had so much trouble getting all those seams to match.  I now have a different machine and, hopefully, more skill so I am going to have another try.  Last night I took apart the ones that were the worst and, after I get this blog and the housework finished, I will reassemble.  I don't think I am going to make any more blocks.  There are enough for a nice lap blanket.

Yesterday morning while eating breakfast, I saw a movement on our neighbours property.  As I watched, a little red fox trotted across the ridge.  They are such lovely creatures and, as they eat mice and other vermin, are welcome neighbours.  It has been raining quite heavily here so my husband hasn't got out hunting.  Today he is working on our wood supply.  Take from pile, chop, move to another pile closer to the house. He also had to replace Heidi's run line as it had got quite frayed.  There is always something to do, isn't there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Backyard Beauties

I have finally finished the paperpieced quilt.  It will be delivered to its new owner tomorrow and that will be the last of the orders I have to fill.  I have, as I belive I mentioned, a number of quilts to restore but think I will leave them until after Christmas-only just over 2 months away. I also have to finish up a pattern that will be included in Quilter's Connection's November newsletter.
The borders of the quilt aren't very visable as my husband's arms weren't quite long enough.  They are long enough to go around me but not to the ends of a full size quilt!
I may not get time to do a posting tomorrow so, if not, I hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comfort Foods

This is the time of year when bubbling hot stews and handmade quilts are welcome.  While winter isn't here, there is a definate coolness in the air.  The forest has gathered its multi hued blanket and the bare trees stand stark against the evening sky.  This is also the time of year when quilters who have been busy with gardening, children home from school and family holidays can, once more, spend hours quilting.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have supportive and understanding husbands (and wives) who will take a turn in the kitchen so we can finish a project.  Tonight, my husband is doing one of his wonderful stir fry's.
I like to have some make ahead meals in the freezer for the days when we are both too busy-or too lazy-to cook.  This recipe freezes well, is great for potluck meals or make and bake.  It was passed on to me by a quilty friend after my husband and I enjoyed it at their cottage.  It is simply called:
Cottage Casserole.
Use a 10 X 14 pan
salad oil
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg. Kraft dinner
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cans mushroom soup
approx. 2 cups grated cheddar cheese.
Brown ground beef in oil
Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion and cook until soft.
Stir in tomatoes
Cook Kraft Dinner macaroni and drain
Mix together soup and cheese mix from KD
Add soup mixture to macaroni stir,
Mix together with beef and vegtables.
Ladle into pan and top with cheese.
Casserole can now be frozen
Bake at 350o until bubbly.

Thank you, Evelyn for sharing this recipe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Making of a Quilter

I had a phone call this morning that made my day.  I had given my sister-in-law one of my older machines for her use although, as they are working on getting their new home ready for winter, I didn't expect she would do much with it for a while.  Pearline is one of those women who can turn a packing crate into a lovely home but I think she is happier outside digging trenches than sitting at a sewing machine.  Her phone call, therefore, was a surprise.
She phoned to let me know she had bought a cabinet for the machine and was getting it all set up in a spare bedroom.  Her first project was patching a pair of her husband's (my brother) jeans.  She went on to say that she is looking forward to making a dress and that her dream is to have a little place at home where she can sell her products.
I am, of course, thrilled.  I know that I will be able to gently nudge her toward making quilts.  After all, who would not want to!
I am already looking forward to working with her making gifts for the family and items for her store.

Just a reminder about the contest:  you are to make a wall hanging and add embellishments.  Full details are in the blog entitled 'Contest'.

I obviously didn't edit my last blog.  Typos, typos and shame on me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nov. BOM

I love shoes.  I don't buy as many as I used to when I lived in the city but I still slow down when passing a display.  I am particularly fond of high heals whether in a boot or a shoe.  Again, I rarely where them now but I still like them.  My favourite pair of heels would be bright red leather with some bling.
This month's block is in honour of shoes.  You can make yours any colour you want.  As it is an applique, you can hand or machine stitch the pattern to the background.

You will need back ground fabric 12 1/2" square and approx 10" sqare for your shoe.
Trace the shoe pattern onto a piece of cardboard, cut out and then trace onto your fabric.  If you are hand stitching, add 1/4" before cutting.  If using iron on fusable or machine stitching, cut fabric without adding the seam allowance.
Attach the pattern to your background fabric using your preferred method.

Add some bling if desired.
You may need to enlarge this photo after printing.
Have fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Contest

I have the bird quilt out of the frame and doing the finishing work on my table machine.  I like to quilt the borders separately and, if I don't have the extension on the frame, I also add them later.  I am quite pleased with the way this has turned out. 
Tomorrow I will have another BOM for you-haven't thought what it will be yet but I think it is going to be an applique.
Is there a quilting technique that you always wanted to do but never got around to?  I have a friend that does wonderful embellishments.  She did a Christmas wall hanging that had tiny strings of lights, stars and a myriad of details that must have taken hours to do.
The moderator of a group to which I belong asked if anyone did embellishments which led me to this idea.
I am going to hold a contest.  The rules are fairly simple. 

1 -Make a wall hanging (your choice as to size)
2-Add embellishments (your choice as to what they are)
3-Take a photo and of the completed project and send it to me.
Winner gets a prize.
Closing date for entries is Nov. 30
Entries will be judged on workmanship and  imagination (interpretation).


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Have you been following the plight of the Chilian miners?  This morning, I watched, with tears in my eyes, as each one rose from the depths of the earth and into the arms of their waiting loved ones.  I can only imagine their joy.  I get excited anticipating my husband's return after a being away for just two days.
He called this morning to say that he was on the way home from his hunting trip.  He is tired and cold as the heater in the van wasn't working.  I have given the house an extra polish and brushed the dog.  The fire is lit and the kettle will be boiling.  Of course, it won't take long for normalacy to return and I will be mentally grumping about his habit of leaving things where they were dropped.  Humans aren't the most rational of creatures, are they.
Last night, I lay awake for a while after letting the dog out.  Of course, I was thinking about quilting and have thought of another scrappy pattern.  I have done a rough sketch of it and will add it to my list of things to do.
I didn't quite get the bird quilt top stitched yesterday.  I have one more row of blocks to do.  I find that I can only work on the frame for a little while before I (a) get bored or (b) my back hurts or (c) both.  I have to add extensions to the legs to raise it up about four inches.  Having everything a few inches too low is one of the banes of being tall.  Can't imagine what it must be like for those who are in the extreme end of height; rather like Gulliver in Lilliput land I would think.
Another crisp fall day calling me to be outside.  I gathered up the gnomes yesterday.  They are always reluctant to leave their sunny spots and move to their winter homes.  I will let them take some of their animal friends with them to keep them company until spring arrives once again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Fun

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend.  Many of you will have been with family as Roger and I were.  We had a lovely visit with my brother and wife on Sunday.  It was still nice enough to sit outside and watch the motorcyclists and other road users pass by.  Everyone was enjoying the last little bit of colour that was left in the leaves. 
Yesterday, here in the backwoods, it got quite a bit cooler and I had the woodstove on in the evening and kept it going today.  There is definately a hint of the coming winter in the air.
After breakfast, I took Heidi for a walk and then got in some more wood.  I have set myself a goal of finishing the quilting on the bird quilt today.  I also have a paper pieced pattern to work out and another pattern for Quilter's Connection newsletter to send in before the end of the month.  There never seems to be an end of quilty things to do. That isn't a complaint, by the way.
My son phoned last night to tell me that he and his wife have moved to North Bay.  That is only an hours drive from us so I am pleased to have them so much closer.  They had been thinking about moving north but I hadn't realized the decision had been made.  Now I can look forward to another family member being here for holidays  as well as other times.
It is the strangest feeling to find myself surrounded by family with more arriving in the next few years.  I had got used to having everyone either in different countries or other provinces.  All this makes me wonder how many more surprises there will be in the coming months.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving

Our trip yesterday went well.  We gave our presentations, answered questions and returned home.  It was a long day-three hours driving each way-and I was tired when I got home  just before nine.  I did get to go to the quilt store though.  The driver, bless him, said we had lots of time so I zipped in and found a pattern I liked.  I hate going into a quilt store and not buying something even if it isn't anything I needed.  I think it is a struggle for most quilt store owners to make a profit so I try to be as supportive as I can.  I don't have the same attitude toward chain fabric stores.  They have a wide range of customers; dressmakers, upholsterers, teens in high school classes etc.  Quilt stores get quilters.
I am taking a bit of a day off today and am going to work on my bird quilt.  Tomorrow, I have baking to do and Sunday, after church we are off to my brother's to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I have been trying to make it a habit to start each day being thankful for something. Today it is for CBC where I am able to hear my classical music.  I am also thankful for this wonderful country we call home.  We have freedoms, privilages and standards of living that is the envy of much of the world.  I am thankful for those who established our constitution and laws which protect the rights of the individual and give religious freedom. I am thankful for my friends both real and virtual, my family and my faith. And, of course, I am thankful for our little dog, Heidi, who brings us laughter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the Road

Just a quick post today as I am off to a meeting as part of a committee that I am on.  There is a nice quilt store in a community near our destination but I doubt if I can get our male driver to stop there.
It looks as though it is going to be another lovely day so it will be a nice, if long, drive.
I have started quilting the bird quilt (should be two different words-one for the process and another for the project). I broke a needle before completing the first row so had to loosen the tension.  I had practiced the pattern I wanted to do but not with the same thread.  Silly mistake.  It is certainly the little things that make a difference.
This is one of the messy seasons.  In the spring, I am always having to clean up after muddy pawprints and this time of year, it is leaves.  Our Heidi has velcro hair and everything sticks to her and is carried into the house.  Trimming her hair shorter would probably help but she looks so cute with it long.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


People that know me are aware that I don't like hot weather.  I am always so glad when the cooler weather arrives and I can go for walks or sit outside without fear of sunstroke.  Even being in the house is more pleasant.  This is the time of year when we do all those chores that got delayed because it was too hot, too rainy, too buggy or we were too busy.
This week we completed two of those jobs.  The wood around the bottom of the house needed another coat of paint and the addition that my husband built also needed doing.  Yesterday we got the smaller job finished and today we did the addition.  Our house isn't very big and that little mudroom sticking out one side reminded me of a wart. (That isn't a reflection on my husband's capable work but more the way my imagination works).  Now that it is the same colour as the rest of the building, it blends in and looks very nice.
Colour has such an impact on everything we do.  As a quilter, much of the my preplanning involves colour choice.  I will often  change my mind about the border after I have it sewn on because I don't like the way the colour looks.  One of the ladies in our quilt group told us that she removed a row of fabric that she had put around dozens of blocks because she didn't think the colour was right.
Colour is very subjective.  I favour autumn tones while another friend prefers brighter more vibrant colours.  Many quilters like the combination of blue and yellow while I would rather use brown or a purple shade with either of them.  I used to have a problem with blue and green being paired but, depending on the shades, I now with use them.
This is the time of year when we especially appreciate the colour that surrounds us.  Many of the leaves have either faded to shades of yellow or are on the ground but there are still glimpses of the glory that brought hundreds of tourists to our area. I hope you had a chance to enjoy the colour in your community.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From the Beginning-A ReHash

This little blog has garnered a number of steady readers since it's beginning so I thought I would do a little rehashing.  I will try and add a few new bits for those who have been with me since the beginning.
The purpose behind this blog-as it says on the masthead, is to share my love of quilting and my adjustment to country living.  I have always considered myself a city person.  I loved the vibrancy of constant activity and noise.  I loved the convenience of having stores and entertainment nearby.
You will notice that those last two sentences are written in the past tense.
When my husband and I moved to our rural property ten kilometers from the village of Burk's Falls which is located in the heart of the Almaguin Highlands, I expected to experience not only withdrawal symptoms but also a period of adjustment.  Our home is half an hour from a small city, three hours from Toronto.  We don't get mail delivery or garbage pick up.  Despite all this, or perhaps, because of it, I am happier and more at peace than I ever imagined.
Our first days on our property, however, were challenging.  We had to prepare an area in the bush to put in our home and go through a myriad of rules, codes and waiting for inspections before we could bring in our manufactured home.  In the meantime, we were living in a bus.  It had been converted into a camper and had fridge, stove, etc but no toilet.  We spent the first couple of weeks making frantic, early morning runs into the village to use whatever washrooms were available.  We got to know the regulars in a restaurant and enjoyed morning coffee at the welcome center.  Then my husband had a wonderful idea; get a portable toilet delivered.  You have no idea what a difference that made!  At least once a week, we would spend a night in a motel or at my sister-in-laws farm.  We could shower, shop and relax for a bit.
There were some stressful times but also a lot of laughter.  The blackflies were a shock but hearing a loon early in the morning was wonderful.  Washing in a bowl of water served the purpose but showering in the rain (don't visualize) was exhilarating.
Eventually everything was done.  We had arrived on the property the end of May and were in the house in August.  We had all our services but the phone.  It arrived in November.  My mother died in the middle of August, in England, and I had to do all the family stuff on the cell phone which, thankfully, works in this area.
Two  and a half years have passed.  My husband has learnt how to make maple syrup, use a chainsaw and stack wood, I have joined a wonderful quilt group and we both attend a little country church.  I serve on a civic committee and my husband is a volunteer for a local group.  We have made many friends and feel a part of the community.
I have been able to develop my interest in designing quilt patterns and have a small business making custom quilts. 
Two years ago, we aquired a wonderful little dog which has added much humour and love to our family.  In short, we are as happy as any people can be. I do miss the convenience of the city but not the noise.  I love looking out our windows and seeing nothing but trees.  In the city, if you could see the stars, they were pinpricks of light.  Here, in the backwoods, the night sky looks as though it has been pieced by a giant finger.  The stars are huge.
There is a pond near the back of the property and it is home to  beaver, heron, otter, waterfowl and little amphibians.  We have moose, deer and bear as well as weasel and fisher.  Birds fill the trees and butterflies bless the flowers.
This might not be paradise but it is close enough for an earthdweller.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Decision Made

A few months ago when my computer crashed, I lost the pattern instructions to a book I was writing.  It was such a devestating experience that I have not been able to face putting it all together again.  In addition to that book, I was also working up a number of patterns for another publication.  I have decided-drum roll-to finish the work on the second book.
This one has a basic pattern which, like log cabin, can be used in many ways.  The pattern can be assembled either as paperpiecing or rotary cut.  I will also show you how to make the basic pattern in a number of sizes so that you can adapt it for your personal need. The book will show approximately a dozen ways to use the pattern.
I am telling you all this for two reasons.  One is in the hopes that you will be interested in it when I have it finished but the main reason is that once you say something, you feel committed.
This book will be available on line.   I will keep you posted.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Facebook and Lists

I have spent most of the morning uploading photos to my husband's Facebook acount.  I had to find a photo for his 'profile' picture and download pictures from the camera to upload into his album.  (Don't you just love the new techie language)  He is really enjoying Facebook and finds it easier to deal with than e mail.  I prefer e mail.  The only time I go to Facebook is when someone sends me a message and that is usually my husband's family. 
I do find that photos upload faster to this medium but that is the only positive for me.  Of course, I can now add the fact that Roger can communicate with his family and friends without my help.  Big plus.  I don't mind helping but that usually means stopping what I am doing and hovering over his shoulder until he is able to continue on his own.
I am trying to get my bits and pieces done today.  I made a list last night of people that I need to phone or write to (real pen and paper) as well as other jobs.  Downloading photos was on the list so I can mark that one off.  I find that a list is one way to ensure that I will do the things that keep sliding to the bottom of the priority list.
Yesterday, I made 18 jars of jam and 4 loaves of bread so today was supposed to be a day off. However, I have hung the laundry out, cleaned house and, as mentioned, worked on my list.  Tomorrow, I have to go to the city and shop so perhaps I can take Saturday as a free day.  One would suppose that when you are retired you have every day off but those who have reached this time of life know that it isn't true-especially for women.
I just have to put the final border on the paperpieced bird quilt and then I can get that project marked off my unwritten list.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Just some photos today.
The first  is, as you can see, some autumn finery.  There were horses in this field but not close enough to the trees to include them. There is still some wonderful views in the area although the colours are fading somewhat.
The second photos is of the quilt top that won first prize in our fall fair.  These fabrics, with the exception of the dark blue used for sashing and border, are all from the 1950's.  Whe I get it quilted, I will post the finished project.
On to my jam and bread making,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Domestic Bliss

Welcome to our new member.  When you have a few moments, go through the previous blogs and see if any of the free patterns are something you can use.
I spent this morning making chili sauce.  Such a lot of work but it is nice to have all those jars ready for the winter.  Tomorrow, I need to make more bread and will get started on turning all the berries that have been waiting in the freezer into jam.
I have already done pickled beets and relish so the cupboards are starting to fill up.
I almost completed the bird quilt top yesterday.  I hope to have it finished today and then will take a photo to share.  Will also do one of the top that one first prize at the fall fair.  Once the bird top is done, I will get it quilted.  The other quilt I am going to top stitch by hand.  I then can re enter it in the fair as a completed project. Of course, that plan is open to change.  I am not a very good hand quilter.
We are continuing to get rain and a lot of our leaves have fallen.  They are so lovely on the trees but they do make an equally lovely carpet.  If it ever dries up, I will take the dog for a walk through the bush and let her romp through the leaves. 
She seems to have fully recovered from her jaw injury although she is till getting the pain medication.  Bones are definately off her menu.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Old Treasure's

We have had severe rainfall warnings for this area so I expect that, if we get it, my internet service will go down.  We get internet and tv from satallite so the weather sometimes interferes with the signal, especially if it is extreme.
I am working on the layout for my paperpieced bird quilt today.  I am still having trouble deciding on the fabric for the alternate blocks.  I have some that I really like but I think it makes it look 'Christmasy'. Decisions, decisions.  I think that I will get my husband's opinion when he comes in from cutting wood.  He has a nice colour sense.
Later on, my husband and I are going to visit a couple.  She has an old quilt that she wants me to see with the idea of me doing some restoration work on them.
This is something I really enjoy doing although I am not a professional by any means.  I would never tackle a museum quality quilt but I get a lot of joy from making someone's family treasure usuable.  There is just something about an old quilt that I find appealing.  It doesn't really matter about the quality of workmanship or choice of fabrics.  These treasure's are the work of someone's hands, a labour of love for their family members.   I am looking forward to seeing what she has.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Heidi is back to normal.  The pain killers the vet prescribed are allowing her to eat so she is back to her walking stomach, bouncy self. 
This photo was part of an e mail of 12 commandments sent by a friend.  The pictures, as you can see, are rockwellian, and the words are good reminders to be grateful for what we have.
I am sure that people have always dreamt of bigger and better but, I believe, that television and lottery ads have pushed that desire to a new high.
I am going to set myself a goal of starting each day being thankful for at least one thing.
Today, it is Heidi's returned health and, if I am permitted a second, it would be the wonderful autumn colours.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Praise of EQ

Followers of this blog will have heard me refer to EQ a number of times.  There are a number of computer quilt programs on the market and I have a couple of them.  My favourite, by far, is EQ (Electric Quilt).  I use it to design, choose colours and figure out the math involved in creating a quilt.
I have been working on a quilt for my sister -in -law for some time.  She wasn't in any rush so it kept getting pushed back on my to do list.  It has, however, finally made it to the top of my priorities and I am getting it finished.  The feature blocks are paper pieced birds from Jodie Davis' book, Backyard Bird Quilts.  She is a wonderful paper pieced pattern designer and I really like this book.  In fact, I wish she bring out another with even more birds.
I had been having a lot of problem deciding what my alternate blocks would be and finally, yesterday, decided to use Jodie's sample.  From there, I went to EQ to do the layout with my own colour choices and, voila, a quilt.  These blocks will be quick and easy so I should (key word is should) have the quilt done and ready for the top stitching by the end of the month.
I do have a small project to do before the weekend but, other than that, I am free.
Have to take our Heidi to the vet this morning as she still isn't well.  I suspect a bone or something caught in her jaw.