Friday, April 30, 2010


I like rocks.  I like the big, granite sturdy ones, the small, colourful sparkly ones and all those in between.  When we lived in Edmonton, I was always on the look out for a nice rock to add to my garden and my husband would always bring back one or two when he went hunting.
Now we live in Ontario on part of the Cambrian shield and I have my very own home grown rocks-thousands of them in every shape and size.  I have a rock garden, rock borders and rock backdrops.
Roger has learnt that if he wants me to go slower when we are out for a walk, all he has to do is point out a piece of quartz.  It is hard to move very quickly when you are scanning the ground for something else that is special.
Once our garage is up, I am going to start making concrete paving stones studded with my favourite sparklies.

I would also like to have a water feature somewhere.  This photo shows the view from our living room window.  These rocks are about a quarter of the ones that were removed when the hole was dug for the foundation.  Can't you visualize a nice stream of water flowing down these and into a pool. 
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Frost on the Pumpkin?

Our lovely early spring seems to be undecided as to whether (pardon the unintentional pun) it wll continue.  Our temperatures dropped a bit last night and I woke this morning to see some frost on the ground.  I had planted some flowers yesterday and transplanted a few more trilliums but they all seem to be okay. 
Of course, those of you in the west have had some worse weather with the snow.
We need rain here and it is predicted for the weekend so I am hoping we do get it.  My brother and his wife are moving on Friday but sunshine is predicted for that day.
Have you ever noticed how we want a certain type of weather but only when it is convenient for us?  Scientists are always trying to figure out how to control the weather.  Can you imagine what would happen if they were successful and you could purchase 'sunshine or rain for a day'.  You think noisy children and barking dogs make for problems amonst neighbours?  What if I want rain for my garden the same day you were planning to sun tan?  Would someone have to set up a priority list?  Is an outdoor wedding more important than moisture for crops?  I am glad that we don't have the choice.
I am making a vegetable stew in the slow cooker today to take for my brother and SIL's supper tomorrow.  I am making good progress on the wedding quilt and may get the top done before leaving for our holidays the middle of May.
Have you planted your vegetables yet?  I will be getting some in next week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do You EQ?

I believe I have mentioned in past blogs that I use computer software programs to help in my designing of quilt patterns, colour choices and layouts.  My favourite of the two programs  I have is EQ6.  It is wonderful for manipulating shapes, deciding on the best colours and  type of sashing and border.  My favourite feature is that it it tells me how much fabric I need.  Math is a necessary part of quilting but if I can avoid it, I will. I would sooner spend my time quilting than trying to figure out how much fabric I need to buy for 78 triangles that are 3 1/2" on the long side.

Another example of why I like this program:  when I was hired to do a wedding quilt, a lady showed me a quilt block and said she would like me to use it.  I was able to reproduce it on EQ, put it in the appropriate sized layout and, using her colour choices, printed a few options.  She chose one, I bought the fabric and am now making the quilt.

This is a quilt design I did just for the pleasure of seeing the colours.

I am mentioning all this because EQ is in the processing of releasing a new version of EQ and you may have a chance to win it.  Stay tuned for further information.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is a photo of the quilt that was given to our pastor and his wife as they left for their move back to Nova Scotia.  The flowers are embroidered, the basket and squares hand pieced.  I machine quilted the top.
I am really sorry to see them go as I  got to be good friends with Glenda.  Life brings so many changes and accepting them isn't always easy.
We are starting to see a few blackflies now although, thankfully, they aren't biting.  The daffodils are still nodding their bright yellow heads and have now been joined by the tulips.  The sweet williams are adding their delicate colour.
The trilliums and other wildflowers are contributing their beauty to the woods.  We transplanted a few to see if they would take.  They were just moved closer to the house but still in a wooded area and, so far, they don't seem to have rejected their new location.
Roger has completed his work on the mud room and it just has to be painted.  We need to wait for the weather to warm up again before we can do that.  Also want to get our veggies planted so the next week should consist of a lot our outdoor stuff.
Today, we are doing one of our regular trips to Huntsville to get supplies.  I need a bit more lemon yellow for one of the wedding quilts.  I am making good progress on them now that I am not watching television in the evening.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy Day

Yesterday was a busy one.  When my husband is working on a ladder, he likes to have me nearby to hand him things so he doesn't have to keep climbing up and down.  I decided to put shelves in a small desk-bedside table really,  that I have beside my computer.  I like working with wood and as I recently became the owner of a recipricating saw, I thought I should start using it.  It took a bit of working getting the shelves even but I got it done.  Now I can keep my machine manuals, and various printer papers seperate.  Bird houses are next on my wood making list as well as a drawer to go under my sewing table.  I need somewhere to put bobbins etc for my long arm.  I will put the drawer on sliders so it can be pushed out of the way.
Today, I am finishing up the embroidered quilt.  I decided to do a bit more top stitching on it as it was bare in some places.  Then I can wash it and give it to the person who ordered it.  This one has been going on for a while so am glad to get it done.
We are still waiting for rain.  The long range forecasts keep calling for it but, as the day gets closer, it changes to sunshine.  It will be nice for tourists and those who work if we have drier weekends this summer but we do need the rain for the plant life.  I like the pre-Noah days when everything was watered by the dew.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catching Up

The wedding quilts are going together much quicker than I thought they would so I think I am getting caught up on my schedule.  I have two non-quilting related events to finish up and, once they are out of the way, I can relax a bit. 
The news report says our annual blackfly plague is supposed to start early-this weekend-so I need to get outside this afternoon and finish the windows and some yard work.  This morning-quilting.
My husband has been working on getting the mud room finished.  He built it last year but it still needed the siding and some prettying up.  He has covered it in pine boards which will be painted the same colour as the house.  We would both prefer wood stain but our place is small so would look better if everything blended.
Yesterday, I dyed some fabric to try and get it closer to the colour I wanted.  I had bought some green thinking it was close to the shade I needed but, when I got it home, I found it was too bright.  So, I put it in some black dye.  It was the only colour I had and, if worse came to worse, I could always use some more black fabric.  I also tossed in some bits of white fabric as I needed grey for my paper pieced birds.  It does appear that I might have acheived the result I wanted.
I used to do a lot of fabric dyeing in my washing machine but, with a front loader, that isn't possible.  I did this lot on the stove in a big pot which seems to have worked.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Quilts and Gadgets

Here are two more photos of the quilts that were at the Orillia quilt Show.  The first picture is of the flowers of the provinces and the final is Canadian scenes.  You can see prairie gran elevators, rodeos, the covered bridge in Burk's Falls (acutally in the Maritimes but there is one here).
As you can tell, I will be remembering this show for a long time.
Yesterday, I had to go for a doctor's appointment in North Bay which is a largish community about an hour's north of us.  Of course, I took the opportunity to do quilt shopping and I bought a bobbin winder among other things.  This little gadget will wind your bobbins seperate from your sewing machine so you don't have to interrupt your work when you run out.  I usually do 10 bobbins of white thread for each of my machines.  This is nice when you are doing a lot of sewing (and who isn't) but takes time to refill them all.  Now I can refill and sew at the same time.  Addicted!  Not me!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Orillia Quilt Show

Here are a couple of my favourite quilts that were at the Orillia Guild's show. the first is a close up of a crazy quilt.  You can see the designer used lace and other embellishments to enhance the already wonderful fabric and stitchery.  the second photo is the quilt.
The final photo is a sampler that was, if my memory is correct, was hand pieced and quilted.
One of the reason's I especially liked this show was that beginners also displayed their work.  Another very nice touch was the music played for weary viewers/shoppers who were stopping for a cup of tea.
This show will be on my 'must see' list for the future.  I will post a couple more photos tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gnomes and Stars

Last night during one of those frequent trips you have to make as you get older, I looked out at the sky.  The stars were enormous.  In Edmonton, despite the city lights, we were still able to see the stars but they were just pinpricks of light.  Still beautiful but small.
Here in the backwoods, it seems as though someone poked holes in the night sky with their finger to let the glory shine through.  You would think that the size of the stars would be about the same no matter where you were but, obviously, this is not the case.  It was an amazing sight although, as I said to my husband, I probably would have appreciated it more at two in the afternoon rather than two in the morning!
We have had more gnomes join our family.  A worker gnome moved in and he and his axe have taken up residence near the wood pile.  We are hoping that he may leave us a tidy pile of kindling each day.  We also have a senior couple who thoughtfully brought along a porch swing in which to enjoy the sun.  I have hung it from the cedar rail fence.  They don't have much of a view there, however, so as soon as I am able, I will move them to the hill were we often sit.  They will be able to watch the birds and other creatures in the lower part of our property.  They won't be too far from the main gnome colony so the children will be able to visit when they have finished their chores.  I am sure the gnome babies will love to sit on their laps and be swung to sleep.
Welcome to new member Charlene.  She, her mother Carol and I were at a quilt show Saturday.  I will tell you about it tomorrow and post some photos.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cheating Nature

Yesterday, after I dropped my car off at the garage to get the tires done, I walked back to where my husband had left the truck (nice to have more than one vehicle).  I had recently noticed that one business had a front yard full of daffodil blooms and, as I was going past them, I stopped to take a closer look.  They were fake.  It was hard to tell if you just glanced at them but they were fake.
I will admit that they gave the yard a cheery look but I did feel rather cheated.  Of course, I felt better when I thought of my own daffodils-real-that were brightening our gardens.  Last year, I added a few more to the collection and planted them along the edge of the woods.  This year I am going to put some more in the wooded areas.  We have a number of little hills where we are going to place rustic benches so it will be nice to have a few flowers as well.  I noticed some small whiteish flowers in one area yesterday and I think they may be dogwood.  Am going to have to get a book to help me identify all the flora and fauna.
Last night we went to a farewell gathering for an older couple in our church.  She has been having some health problems so they are going to live closer to family.  The church got me to make a quilt for them.  I was a little concerned about how much room they would have for extra stuff so I also made a bag for the quilt.
I used an appliqued block as the front as it was approximately the right size, and made the back from the same fabric I used in the quilt backing.
You might want to use this idea as well.  The bag, when the quilt was inside, became a pillow.  For easy access, I made the back of two pieces of fabric that overlapped.
I think I am going to do this will all my quilts now unless I know they are going to be used on a bed. It is also a good way to use up my orphan blocks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summer Tires

We are taking my car in today to have the winter tires removed and replaced with summer.  I am hoping we aren't too early but we are going to Orillia on Saturday and you get better gas mileage with the lighter tire.  We may get the winter weather that is in Alberta right now but that it may have turned to rain rather than snow by the time it arrives.  I have noticed in the past that there is about 2 weeks difference in the weather patterns.  Alberta gets it and 2 weeks later it arrives on Ontario.
A reader sent some good advice about evergreen needles.  She uses them as mulch on her raspberries etc as they last much longer.  Now I will have to look under our spruce trees and start gathering.
I am going to be taking in a quilt show while in Orillia and am hoping to see some of the ladies who belong to an on line group and live in the area.  It is funny how you can converse with someone, perhaps for years, without having met them 'in the flesh'.  I will be taking photos and will share with you next week.
I forgot to give you the link to my sister's blog.  If you are interested in reading about life in the English countryside, this is the address:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Call of the Loon

This morning, just before I got up, I heard a loon's call.  There is something about that sound I have always loved.  It is such a haunting, lonely call that it makes your imagination respond.  Owls and wolves evoke the same response.
This bird seems to go by our house at the same time each morning so I suspect it sleeps on our pond and then goes to Three Mile Lake for its breakfast and to spend the day.
We haven't had any more indication of beaver life although Roger saw movement in the water yesterday.  It is possible that it was a fish or muskrat but we are holding onto hope.  We also noticed that some geese are in residence so our wildlife families are all returning.
Yesterday, I did a bit of yard work.  A few inches of leaves had piled up around the house so I raked them and put them in a pile near the edge of the wooded area.  It has been a long time since I have had to rake leaves.  In Edmonton, we had to remove spruce needles every year.  We had two huge trees and our neighbour had some that leaned our way.  It is amazing how something as tiny as an everygreen needle can clog up eavestroughing and accumulate so thickly on the ground.  And, unlike maple leaves, there is no use for them.
My sister in England has recently started writing a blog.  She lives on a large estate with a number of ducks etc. She is also an accomplished photographer so it is nice seeing pictures of the ducklings and reading about her daily activities. I don't care much for facebook, tweeting etc. but I do enjoy reading other people's blogs as well as writing my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

UFO's and WIF's

Have you ever noticed how many occupations and groups have their own language.  This is particularly true of the military which has a whole language consisting of accronyms.
Quilter's also have many of their own terms-QAYG (quilt as you go), S & W (stack and whack), frog stitch (undoing what you just sewn-rip it, rip it), stash (fabric), UFO's and WIF,s ( unfinish projects)
Like many quilters, I major in UFO's. I have a stack of quilt tops that need to be put together and,  have always felt slightly guilty about starting another quilt when there were so many not completed.  This month, however, I have been glad of that pile.  I have had a number of rush orders for quilts and each time have been able to find something suitable and get it quilted.
I only have one more single and a few wall hangings left so, once I get all the orders completed, I can feel guilt free about making  more tops.
Isn't it wonderful how things work out!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Snow Gnomes

I thought I might have to start knitting little sweaters for our gnome family today.  We woke up to a snow covered ground.  There was less than an inch but snow, nevertheless.  I knew that the gnome women would not have been able to gather milkweed down for extra blankets so I thought they would be having a hard time.  However, the sun soon came out and I noticed the workers are in the garden so I am assuming all is well.
I got some fabric for my birthday-surprise-so I am washing it this morning as well as performing my weekly bread making chore.  My husband was still moving furniture in the living room  but, I think he is finished now.
I have been working on a double bed sized quilt with pieced and embroidered squares for a while and I expect to have it finished this weekend.  I will post a photo so you can see some of the top stitching.  I am just getting used to doing something other than stippling and I believe this looks alright.  I should have done a bit more on the plain block but I don't have time now.
I have found a way to keep the layers together for pinning.  I had a lot of iron-on seam tape given to me  and have found that if I put strips here and there between batting and backing that everything stays in place quite well.  I then just have to smooth the top over everything and pin.  I am now wondering how a glue stick would work!  I am going to try it on a sample and see.  I will let you know.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beavers and Birthdays

Roger came in from a walk to the pond last night with some good news.  It appears as though we may have a beaver take up residence.  We have been concerned over the hole that had developed in the dam which resulted in a lot of water leaking from the small pond.  The level on the bigger one has also dropped revealing a lot of ugly stumps.  Apparently, someone had trapped the beaver in the past as they had been eating the trees.  Well, duh, that is what beavers do.  We had thought about importing a pair but were advised that some would probably move back.  We hope that this is now the case and it wasn't just a hobo beaver passing through.
The trick is to now leave it (her/him) in peace so it feels comfortable.  Oftentimes, we humans get so excited over wildlife that we act like papparotzi (spelling?) seeing a young starlet.  Of course, the animal, being more sensible than people, scoots for quieter home.
So, if you are reading this and you live near us-pretend that our beaver is a vicious meat eater and loves, if disturbed, to attack when humans are sleeping. 
Today is my birthday.  My husband surprised me with a lovely painting of our dog sitting in the front of a canoe.  It looks just like her.  It doesn't reproduce well as a photo well but this gives you an idea. He is taking me out for supper this evening so I feel thoroughtly spoiled.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where Did the Day Go

Well, this day really got away on me.  I had planned on spending it catching up on housework including tidying my studio.  However, my husband decided the move the television-my idea-and this, of course, meant readjusting nearly all the living room furniture.  It also means everything is in confusion for a while and, as I HATE having my furniture moved, it was not quite the peaceful day I had planned.  To top it off, the washing machine decided to act up.
So, here it is almost three o clock and I am just getting to the quilt room.  I did get the rest of the house finished and my husband is happy with the living room so all isn't lost.  Wonderful wife that I am, I suggested the move because the chair that Roger sits in was too close to the wood stove and he found it uncomfortable.  He is now much further away so, when it is time to start using the stove again, he should be cooler.
I still haven't received the e mail addresses of those who signed up for the free pattern.  I would like to get them sent off by the weeks end if possible.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Special Day

Good morning and happy Tuesday.  I was looking at my day calendar yesterday and noticed how many 'special' days there were.  Even my wall calendar which is produced by the National Wildelife Fed. notes Jack Miner's birth, International Migratory Bird Day as well as many other nature related events.
It got me thinking about how we seem to need an excuse to celebrate when, in reality, every day is special.  Each morning when we awake, we can celebrate the fact that we are still alive, gravity is still working, our earth is still on its appointed orbit and our air is still breathable.
It is nice to have a special day for acknowledge our mother and father but, if you no longer have yours, you know that each day that you shared this life was a blessing.
Easter is just passed and, for Christians, it is a time when we acknowledge Christ's death and resurrection but, again, it is something we should remember every day.
We are often told to 'take time to smell the roses' and 'count your blessings'.  These sayings get repeated so often that we really don't hear them anymore.  However, if you do take a few moments each day to appreciate its specialness it will make a difference.  Even if life then pushes you back to rush and bustle, those few minutes will stay with you.
If you have let me know that you are interested in receiving the pattern for the strip quilt, please ensure that I have your e mail so I can send it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Gnome Down

I don't usually post on Monday but, as Friday was a holiday, I didn't want to have another day without something for you.  Also, our quilt group starts a little later this morning so I have a bit more time.  However, just to balance that off, we slept in.  Oh, well.  Life of the retiree
Anyone taking advantage of the higher Canadian dollar to do some extra shopping.  I am trying to think of there is anything I need/want, which shouldn't be a problem but shipping costs also have to be considered.  Sounds as though the dollar is going to stay high for a while so I have time.
Saturday, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to get some of the yard work done. I raked the leaves from the perennial garden, brought the gnomes out of hibernation and charged up the solar lights. Everything was set in place and we sat on our lawn chairs for a while admiring the garden and thinking how fortunate we were.

Neither of us felt like cooking so we took a drive into the village, bought some fish and chips and sat in the park and ate them. Once again, we thought of how fortunate we were.

The temperature had almost reached thirty so we left our windows open as the day ended. It wasn’t long, however, before we were scurrying around closing them, and moving the car closer to the house away from swaying trees. Yard furniture, hoes etc was stowed away as the wind picked up speed. For the next two hours, it sounded as though a train was circling the house. Then, as quickly as it began, the wind and the rain stopped and all was quiet as we went to bed. Next morning, a quick survey revealed a couple of leaning trees, and the gnomes, obviously terrified at all the turmoil on their first day out, lying huddled on the ground.

We were glad of the rain as it is so dry and we have already had a number of fires in the area as well as across the country. Most of them have been started by people ignoring fire bans. I don’t understand those who think laws either don’t apply to them or are enacted for no real reason. I believe that, if their actions result in fire, they should be made to pay the costs for it to be put out. I have the same belief about those who ignore any warning/ban-avalanche, thin ice, approaching floods, volcano eruption etc. Not only do taxpayers have the cover the costs for people to be rescued but the emergency personnel have to put their lives at risk.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Off Routine

Yesterday, I told you of my morning routine and today I am completely off it.  I didn't sleep well last night and at 3.30 decided I better take something.  I hate doing that as I am so groggy the next day but I knew if I didn't get some more sleep, I would feel worse.
So, today, here it is nearly lunch time and I haven't done anything other than have breakfast and drink a cup of tea outside with my husband.  I have  couple of things I must do this afternoon and then, hopefully, by this evening, my head will be sufficiently together so I can quilt.
Welcome to the two new members.  Please leave comments and let me know a little about you.  I offered a free quilt pattern to followers yesterday.  This offer is open to anyone who joins before April 6th.  After that, the pattern can be purchased for the lowly sum of ten dollars. 
I didn't tell you the name of the quilt yesterday.  I have called it Resurrection Morn as the explosion of colour feels so joyful.  I imagine that this is how the disciple's and others who followed Jesus must have felt when they knew He had returned from death.
We think we have a duck taking up house on our pond.  After supper yesterday, we went for walk through the property and looked at the signs of spring.  There isn't too much evidence yet but there are some.  The trees and shrubs have swollen tips were the buds will soon form, the ponds are ice free, there are more birds navigating the tree tops and a few drowsy houseflies are soaking up the sun on the side of the house.  It is that wonderful time between winter and blackflies!
Have a blessed Easter weekend.