Thursday, May 27, 2010

Edmonton Ho

We are in a motel just outside Winnipeg.  The trip has been relatively uneventful except for an impaired transport driver and having to take turns doing everything because of the dog.
Heidi has been relatively well behaved and has adapted to having a new 'home' each night fairly well.
As long as both of us are in sight, she is okay.  Of course she has been getting more than her usual share of treats and fussing so I am sure that has helped.
Will try to post something a few times a week.
Much cooler weather here and rain is forecast.  I hope that we get some in the backwoods as our garden needs it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I have mentioned blackflies a few times and it occurred to me yesterday that perhaps you have never seen one.  Here is a photo of a blackfly ready to attack.  They fly around in hordes like kamakaze pilots and nothing seems to deter them.
After a few seasons, you get used to them but, when they are really bad you feel like a prisoner in your home.  Fortunately, this year has been better than the last two, partly, I think, because it is warmer and less rainy.

Just in case you think that living in the backwoods has caused me to lose my mind; this is acutally a wild tom turkey.  He and a couple of females wandered through yesterday and he wanted to make sure we knew that the women belonged to him!
This might be my last regular post until we return from our holidays.  I am taking my lap top so will write something when I have internet access.  If you are on the road this weekend, please remember that a few seconds of rushing can result in a lifetime of pain.  Take your time, enjoy the scenery, relax.  A bad day travelling is better than a good day being attacked by a blackfly!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wall Hangings and a Bad Dog

Here is the wall hanging that I have been working on.  I freehand stitched music symbols on the white and meandered on the black.  I think it has turned out alright.
We just got back from a quick trip to Huntsville to buy some stuff for our trip.  When we got home and in the house, we saw that the dog have eaten the top from one of my sandals and much of one moccasin.
She used to chew everything in sight when a pup but hasn't done that in a long time.  We are going to have to put her back in her house again when we go out.
To add insult to injury, one of our reasons for the trip was to get a supply of dog food and treats!  She won't be getting any of the latter for a bit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Restless Night

Yesterday evening, Heidi spotted something outside which sent her into a frenzy.  We had a hard time getting her settled down.  Roger even took her outside so she could see that what ever had caused her to sound an alarm had been frightened off.  She continued to be 'on guard' all night and periodically would let off one warning yap. 
It is so nice to be protected by a small, furious watchfluff but it is even nicer to be able to enjoy a restful night.
I am just finishing a wall hanging for a lady-think I told you about it.  It consists of four handpainted blocks  which I have joined with black sparkly fabric.  It is quite effective and I am pleased with the look.  I am even going to do the binding in the same fabric so the main focus is the blocks.  I will post a photo when finished.
I have a pair of black dress pants that are too short.  I am seriously considering adding the black glitter to the hem.  Should keep people's eyes away from my ever thickening middle!
Hot day today with a high UV so we will probably be indoors for most of it.  The gazebo will be a welcome spot as it catches the breeze.  I can hand stitch the quilt binding in there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We will be leaving for our trip to Edmonton a week today.  I am getting the last of my sewing jobs finished, car has been serviced and we will do some shopping on Thursday.  Monday is packing and getting the house cleaned.
There is always so much preperation to do whether you are going camping for the weekend or taking a trip to another country.  The anticipation of the holiday gets you through it all but I often wonder why more people, ourselves included, don't holiday at (or closer to) home.
I mentioned in a previous post that our community is taking part in a First Impressions exchange with another village.  The idea being to record your reactions to various aspects-schools, shopping, industry etc.  Last night we had a meeting where our group put together the reports for presentation to the other community.
The experience has helped me see our home differently and thinking that it would be a good exercise for everyone to pretend to be tourists in their own community.  If you have public transit, use it.  Take it to the downtown area, walk to the tourism center and pick up some brochures.  Check out your hiking trails, museum (very few residents have been to their own museum or art gallery) and any other attractions. Pick a place to eat just by looking at the exterior.  Look at real estate ads and pick out a house that meets your requirements.  If possible, pretend you are someone who is moving to your community and go to look at the home.  Is there a school, church, park, shopping close by.
You may even want to book into a motel and continue to explore the next day but even if you just spend a few hours, you will gain a new appreciation for your home.  Or, you may see some areas that need changing (if you had been in a wheelchair would you have been able to enjoy the same things) and become the voice that makes a difference.
Your holiday at home could have far reaching results or just give a day of relaxation.  In either case, you won't have had to do a lot of preperation, or spend vast sums of money.
Of course, if your grandchildren or other family members live in another province, you are still going to have to take that trip so I better continue to get ready.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Viva La Difference

Elaine responded to my last blog by sharing some of her rural experiences.  She mentioned hearing the gobble of wild turkeys and the stillness of the leaves.  They had been getting a lot of wind so she was enjoying the calm.
This morning our trees are also peaceful.  I am sure they are soaking in the warmth of the morning sun as it makes its way past the canopy of leaves. Our Heidi is outside and barking at something no-one else can see; we suspect a squirrel is waving its bushy tail at her.
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like with skinny tailed squirrels, grey leaves, grey snow, soundless rain, mute birds, scentless flowers, cuddleless babies and small puppies?  We are surrounded with a myriad of wonderful things that we rarely notice or appreciate. They are all given to us because we are loved.

Friday, May 14, 2010


We had a new restaurant open up here in the backwoods which has given us some excitement.  This has followed closely behind Tim Horton's making us a destination place for all coffee lovers so we are starting to feel quite cosmopolitan.  Little things  make a huge difference in a small community; public washrooms, signage,  nice restaurants.  Urbanites might not notice a new street bench but it can be the main topic of conversation for a week in a rural area.  Especially if the rural area is very hilly!
Being aware of small changes is one of the nice things about living in the country.  In the city, there is so much going on that little things like a flower growing through the sidewalk, or a fresh coat of paint on a neighbours house is overlooked.
It may sound 'quaint' but I can look out my studio window for long periods of time just watching the trees bending in the wind. Sometimes they are all still and then a few leaves will start to move, followed by a couple of the smaller trees and, as though they were following a conductor's baton, the rest start to join in. Not high drama, perhaps, but I prefer it to watching drug deals or vehicle collisions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Apologies and Patterns

Hello all.  Sorry I have been so lax in my blogging this week.  The past two weeks have been unusually busy with this one being the worst.  Yesterday I was away all day spying out another community.  Our village is doing an exchange of ideas with another of similar size and location.  We send a team to their community and check out the pros and cons, they do the same for us and we have a meeting where all is presented.  The process is to help us see ourselves through the eyes of outsiders and make the changes that will present a better facade to tourists.
I went with another lady on our committee and we had a great day getting to know each other better while shopping, eating and being nosy. I even found a quilt store. We got home in the early evening tired but feeling that we had done a good job.
On Tuesday, I picked up my Little Gracie.  That is the model name of my new quilt frame.  At the moment, she is sitting unassembled in my quilt room.  I am itching to try it out but have so many other things to do first.
Here is a little scrap user pattern for you.
Fridge Magnet:
Materials Needed:
Small magnet (or buy a magnet strip and cut off pieces)
Scraps of fabric or small left over blocks
Small piece of batting or polyester stuffing.

Sew fabric together to make a square approx. 3" X 3".  Place another piece the same size on top, right sides facing.  Sew around 3 sides.  Turn right sides out, put magnet in pocket.  Put batting or stuffing between magnet and top side.  Stitch opening closed.
I made one of these with black on one side and white on the other.  I omitted the batting as I wanted both sides to stick to the surface of my dishwasher.  When there are dirty dishes in the washer, the black side is facing out.  If they are clean, I reverse it.  A handy reminder.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Robins and Swans

We have been trying to teach our little dog Heidi to curtail her barking and she has gradually been getting better.  However, she still likes to warn us of any lurking dangers.  This morning, just as we were getting up, she ran to the window barking furiously.  It took a few minutes of searching before my husband was able to see what was causing her alarm.  A robin searching for worms had landed nearby!
I am not sure what Heidi's reaction would have been if she had been with us a few years ago.  Roger and I were just returning from a motorcycle ride in the country.  It was late afternoon and we were looking forward to getting out of our gear and having a cup of tea.  As we went past a field, the sky darkened and I thought perhaps we were in for a rain shower.  When I looked up, I saw an amazing sight.  The sky was filled with birds.  We both pulled over to the side of the road and stopped.  Their wingspan was enourmous and created a canopy over our heads as they gathered in great swirling columns as far as we could see.  At first, we thought they were geese although they didn't make the right sound, then as they came lower, we realized they were wild swans.  We stood there and watched as they desended like a multitude of webbed angels.  They landed on a pond and the surrounding fields,took off, regrouped, landed again and finally settled.
I have been to conservation areas during migration season and never have I seen such a glorious sight.  I will never forget it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh, My

A little background and then some news to share.   
I have always hoped that I could have a small home business of making custom quilts and it looks as though that is happening. It seems that each week brings a new customer.
 I mentioned previously that I had been given a mid arm sewing machine which has been a big help in doing the top stitching on large quilts.  Of course, being human, I was always looking at the next step.  A little explanation for those of you that don't quilt.  Sewing machines come in different sizes.  The arm (space where you sew) can vary from just a few inches to 18 or more.  The larger sizes make it easier to handle a lot of fabric.  Of course, as you can imagine, it is still a bit of a job manouvering something that is three heavy layers and can be100 inches square.
When the long arm sewing machines were created, so too was a special table or frame that held the machine and the quilt.  I won't go into details other than to say this is what projessional quilters have and most of the rest of us want.
Which brings me to my news: I have been offered one of these frames.  The same lady that gave me the machine decided she can't manage to stand long enough to use the frame.  I am getting it for an unbelievable low price.
I really thought, because of the cost, that I would never own either item and now I will have both.  I don't have anywhere to put it at the moment but I can just move things and set it up when I have quilts ready.  In any case, if God can provide me with a machine and table, He can provide the space.  I know that many would put all this down to co-incidence or perhaps my charming personality, but I prefer to believe that Someone who cares about me is blessing me.
With this table, and as I get experienced, I can not only finish quilts faster but can take on top stitching jobs from other quilters.  I am, as I am sure you will understand, thrilled.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spilled Milk

I had intended to get in a good day of quilting today as I was out most of yesterday.  Of course, we all know what happens to good intentions.  In Ontario, milk comes in plastic bags; 3 bags inside a bigger bag.  Shouldn't be a problem right.  Well, it is.  Because we live so far away from a store, we always stock up and then freeze the milk.  I am not sure just when it happens but, sometime between freezing and thawing, one of the bags often develop a leak.  And, also of course, we don't notice until it starts leaking all over the fridge.  We usually try and remember to put everything in a large bowl until we see if there are any problems but, once again, of course, the time you forget is when the leak happens.
This morning was one of those times.  I had planned on cleaning the fridge but not with milk and not this morning.  The refridgerator and the rest of the kitchen is now clean, my e mail is dealt with and now I can get to the quilting.  Roger is out cleaning the outside of our church.  Would anyone like to lay odds on whether or not he will arrive home just as I get to the sewing machine?
Thank you for the many comments I have been receiving.  They are fun to read and encouraging. Welcome to the newest follower.  I hope I can provide a little bit of humour for your day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cause and Effect

I have a very busy schedule today so just a quick thought.
A week ago, I read an article in our local newspaper about governments.  The writer said that rather than getting the government that we deserve, we get the government that reflects our values.  Therefore, if the majority of society cheats on its taxes, puts themselves before others etc, we shouldn't be surprised if our politicians behave in the same manner.
When I first read this, I thought there was a lot of truth to his idea and, in part, I still do.  However, which came first?  Are politicians apathetic because the public is or are voters apathetic because, despite their best efforts, nothing, politically, seems to change?
I suspect, as with all things, the answer lies somewhere in between.  All citizens/vothers aren't dishonest, apathetic or selfcentered and neither are all politicians.  Many individuals, whatever their position in life, still believe in honesty in all its forms. 
I believe that we can't ignore the fact that there are people who prey on others but if we focus only on them or believe that they are the majority, then we are the losers.  We will not see or enjoy the good around us.