Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My sister and her husband head back to England today.  The older I get the harder it is to have my family members so far away.  I am fortunate that my brother is moving closer.  He and his wife will be less than an hours drive from us and they have a weekend place that is only ten minutes from the village. (Still have the Alberta habit of refering to distance in time rather than kilometers/miles).
My son and his wife live at the far southerly part of Ontario but, at least, we are in the same province.  My two steps sons and two grandchildren are in Alberta.
The rest of my immediate family are all in England.
Ships and planes have made visiting far flung family members easier but they have also made immigration easier.  There are probably few people who don't have a child living in another country or, in the case of Canada, another Province. Email, twitter and other networks make it easier to keep in touch.  Telephones, however, will allow us to hear the other person's voice.  When my mother was alive, it was so wonderful to be able to talk to her on the phone.  Even though her loss of hearing eventually made conversation difficult, I  still felt connected (if you will forgive the unintended pun). She never heard her mother's voice again when she and I moved to Canada from England.
I have great hopes that more of my family will, one day, live closer but, until that happens, I am eternally grateful that we live in a time when we are still able to keep in touch.
All this talk of family makes me think of those who have sons, daughters, brothers, sisters etc who are soldiers.  Whether you agree with the war or not, these men and women are doing a job which could result in loss of life.  Keep all our troops in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Christmas Table Runner/Wall Hanging

Okay, our company has left, the bread has been started and some of the housework done, so now I can give you the pattern.  My son and his wife dropped in unexpectedly yesterday evening and stayed overnight.  It was great to see them but it put me behind in the things I was hoping to do. 

Materials Needed

1 meter/yard green print*
3/4 meter/yard red christmas print
1/6 meter/yard dark yellow or gold
1/2 meter/yard border fabric.
Foundation paper
20 " X 45" Batting
1 meter/yard backing fabric

*Small prints are best.

Wash and iron all fabrics and remove salvage.
Cut three WOF  X 1/12" (or desired width) strips from red fabric for binding.
Each block/section is 6 inches and four sections make a block.  See photo on right.
Photo copy foundation patterns on your paper and piece acording to the numbers on the pattern. 
Make three blocks.
Sew together as shown in the photo.
Measure your top down the center vertically and cut 2 strips of border fabric 3 1/2" wide and sew.
Measure center horizontally and repeat.

Layer top, batting and backing.  Pin and top stitch as desired.
Add binding.  If using as a wallhanging, add sleeve .

I will send you the foundation pattern by e mail to ensure that you are able to print.  Please send your contact address to:


Monday, June 28, 2010

A Few Tips

It has been a busy weekend.  We watched the televised reports of both the G8 and G20.  We were particularly interested in the former as it was taking place in nearby Huntsville.  I think the town did a wonderful job.  The G20, as you probably know, had problems with rioters.  It was horrible watching those few hundred individuals create such havoc but there were a few interesting things happening during the turmoil.  There was one shot of a policeofficer and the young man who had been arrested and the two were chatting away as though they were out for a stroll.  There was no hint of animosity.  That, I said to my husband, is a truly Canadian snapshot.  Personal opinion:  I think the police did a good job.  They showed restraint and gave respect to those they had to deal with.  They have a lousy job; no matter what they do, they are in the wrong. 
Also on the weekend, we went to see my sister, husband, he son and his family.  Our brother and his wife were able to join us so we had a nice family time.
Today, I am watching the Queen's arrival and the various things related to that.
Tomorrow, I will post the wall hanging but, today, I would like to pass on a few hints for those of you who are new quilters.
When I first started quilting, I was really nervous about cutting the fabric in case I made a mistake.  Material is not cheap and we do use a lot of it.  I found that making a trial block out first helped.  I save all my left over material and use it for the trial block.  It helps me work out any problems and gain confidence if it is a new block.  A side benefit is that eventually, I have enough blocks to put together for a sampler quilt.

A cost saving tip:  to get extra usage from your rotary cutter, carefully rub it with fine sandpaper.  This will remove any burrs and rough spots.

Do you have a clear extension table for your machine.  Put a small battery operated lamp under it for a quick an easy light table.  This makes lining fabric up for paperpiecing much easier as well as other projects.

Hope some of these ideas are useful.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot and Humid

I had planned on making bread today but it is going to be too warm.  This is something I usually do earlier in the week and, hopefully, on a cooler day but this has been one of those difficult weeks again.  I haven't been able to sleep properly without taking something and, as I hate taking things, I have been in a daze much of the week.
Yesterday, I was tring to get the last of the blocks sewn together for what I have come to think of as the 'blue' quilt.  I concentrated on making sure each block was in the right order before sewing.  Even after double checking the diagram and previous blocks, I still managed to get it wrong.  I finally gave up.  I only have two rows to do and they will only take a few moments-if I get it right.
I wanted to get the top done so I could take it with me tomorrow and show to my sister.  We all like to do show and tell, don't we.  Even if the showees aren't remotely interested in quilting!
I promised I would let you know about the special project that I would post in honour of reaching 25 (now 26) followers.  I am going to go with the Christmas wallhanging that I mentioned earlier in the week.  My mind hasn't been working well enough to think of anything else and this is quite pretty and unique so I think you will like it.
I am going to do my best to post it on Tuesday.  It may be just the supplies needed but I will get as much done as I can before then.
Until then,  have a wonderful and safe weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

T and E

We managed to miss all the 'fun' yesterday.  The earthquake that shook much of Ontario, Quebec and into the states was active in our area as well.  A couple of neighbours asked if we felt it and we had to admit to not even being aware that there had been one.  Our home is secured into rock and I guess it is solid enough to withstand some shaking.  Nice to know.
Later in the day a tornado touched down south west of us and caused some damage but, thankfully no death or injuries.  I have never seen a tornado although I have lived in areas known to be targets.  I was living in Orillia when the devestating one went through Barrie and area.  I had friends who were affected.
Edmonton, my last home, was another area that had seen the horrendous effects of a tornado.  There were others in nearby communities that resulted in massive devestation and injury.
There were warnings today of severe thunderstorms with high winds but it seems to have missed us.  We never even lost our power although I did leave my computer off until the sky cleared up. Little Heidi was nervous and wanted to stay on my husband's lap as he watched the soccer game.  I guess she sensed the change in the atmosphere. 
I hope that all of you have remained safe and problem free during these most recent nature demonstrations.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This and That

This seems to be the summer of critters.  We are having problems with everything from bears to ants.  Our neighbour had their composter tore apart on Monday so now all our men folk are keeping their rifles handy.  Doesn't that sound like something from the pilgrim days?  On the other end of the pest scale, ants have been finding their way into our house.  We have plugged holes and put down toxic killers without complete success.  There does seem to be less of them so perhaps we are winning that war.
All of this, of course, is better than having a drug lab next door or hordes of all night revellers.
I am still working on the wedding quilts. One is ready for the top stitching and the other is almost ready to have the blocks sewn together.  Yesterday, I decided I didn't like the layout that I had planned on using so spent a lot of time on EQ figuring out another.  This is a log cabin pattern so layout styles are almost endless.
I think I have an idea for our 25 member celebration (we now have 26).  I still have some work to do on it but will tell you that it will probably be a table runner/wall hanging with a Christmas theme.  Stay tuned.
And now back to the sewing machine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Milestone

This little blog now has 25 followers.  I never thought when I started  last year that there would be so many people who would find my thoughts interesting enough to read.  I hope, in addition to sharing my world, that you have also enjoyed the patterns.  Thank you for sticking with me as I learn how to post blocks and patterns in a format that is easy to understand and use.  I am still going through the learning process but, hopefully, I am improving each week.
I appreciate, also, those of you who take time to share your comments.  They have frequently come at a time when I have felt discouraged.
And now, I would like to do something tangible to show my appreciation.  I would love to take you all on a cruise or, at least give you gift certificates but, as like you, finances often dictate actions, I will have to think more modestly.  I didn't expect to reach this goal so quickly so I will have to give myself some time to come up with something.  I will set myself the goal of Friday to make the announcement and Tuesday to post it.
And now to other stuff:  My thoughts have been with you who live in the Prairie provinces as you go through all the weather related challenges.
We are expecting thunder storms here in the backwood and it feels and looks as though we should be getting them soon.  The air (as my mother would say) feels close.
My thoughts are also with my sister and her husband as they are now enroute from England to Toronto.  We are not happy fliers in our family yet still seem to do it frequently.  I am looking forward to spending some time with Helen and Gra on Saturday along with  her son and daughter in law and their children.  I am hoping that our brother and his wife will also be able to join us.  When your family is so scattered, even a small gathering is wonderful. Do you have a family member you haven't spoken to recently?  This might be a good time to have a chat.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Great Bargain

Yesterday seems to have got away on me.  I went to Huntsville in the morning to get groceries and take advantage of a fabric sale.  I got some great bargains on both so that made for a happy trip.Got home, unpacked and then didn't do anything for the rest of the day.
I hadn't slept well the night before as Heidi was still nervous about the bear which meant she kept me awake. She seems to be settling down now so perhaps we are back to normal.
I am really pleased with the bargain on got on batting.  I needed quite a bit as I have 2 kings, a queen and a double that I am doing.  Everything was on half price so it was a good day to shop.
I found some 124 inch wide batting that normally cost $35.00 a meter on special at $15.00.  I was thrilled with that but, as the clerk was measuring it out, we noticed a lot of dirty spots.  She talked to the manager and I ended up getting it for 75% off plus and extra couple of meters.  I was, needless to say, thrilled.
I am pretty sure the spots will wash out and, if necessary, I can always cut that bit out and patch in a clean bit.
We now have 24 followers.  One more and I will come up with something special for you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things that go Bump in the Night

We had a relaxing day yesterday going for a drive through Algonquin Prov. Park.  The weather was nice and we stopped at various points to enjoy the scenery, have lunch or just sit.  We hadn't used our camper since moving to the backwoods and, as my sister is going to be using it for her Canadian tour, we thought this would be a good time to make sure everything worked.  Although my husband and I have both driven full sized buses, it still took a bit of time getting used to the camper.  It isn't much longer than a car but definately higher and definately different steering.  Despite its age, it ran well and had enough pep to climb steep hills or pass slower traffic.
We didn't see a lot of wildlife on our trip except for a cow moose that was on the side of the road and ignoring the staring, pointing humans and clicking cameras.
Our personal brush with wildlife came much later.
Sometime after we had gone to bed, I woke to hear the dog barking and my husband yelling at something to 'scram'.  Apparently, a black bear had been attracted by the smell of the clover that surrounds our home and had wandered over to inspect it.  He/she wasn't much bothered by the commotion it created but did eventually stroll away.
I was rather disappointed that I hadn't got to see it but I think I can live with that.
A visitor of a much different size was at the hummingbird feeder this morning.  Nature sure does come in various packages.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June BOM

Today's block is called Patience Corners.  It is well named.  While it is one of my favourites and I have used it a number of times, it still takes concentration to get it right.

You will need 4 fabrics' three of them should be a light, medium and dark of one colour and the other a co-ordinating print.
  The rest of the instructions are shown as a scanned page.  Please let me know if you have trouble accessing or reading them.

Sorry they didn't get printed in the correct order.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spring Babies

 I hope you like the blogs new look.  Blogger offered some new options so I thought I would try this one out.
If you have been out in the country lately, you will have seen unmistakable signs of new life.  Calves and colts, lambs, kids and even baby bison frolic in the fields.
We have our own little ones.  Throughout the day, a family of ducks can been seen crossing our driveway to and from the little pond.  We think they are living in a brush pile that we left.  My husband has periodically mentioned burning it but I said that there are probably rabbits and other wildlife living in it.  Never thought of ducks. We will have to erect a 'duck crossing' sign.
Now that our clover is in flower, it is literally humming with bees.  Yellow swallowtale butterflies add their colour to the pink and green.
We have a male turkey with a couple of hens who frequent the area and we should be seeing some baby gobblers soon.
It is rather humid today.  My husband is working on the area where the garage is to be built and I am getting ready to go to quilt group.
Tomorrow, I will post the first Block of the Month.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pets and Vacations

It is a lovely morning here in the backwoods.  The sun is shining and there is no indication of rain.  I am getting the rest of the laundry done so I can hang it out.  I did a little yesterday and it did dry but I was on alert all day. This is certainly the time of year for holidays.  Both of my sisters are coming from England for a visit-one in June the other July.  A lady in our quilt group is on a cruise and we expect her back soon.  A number of my virtual friends are also cruising, camping and travelling.  All of them, as far as I know, have left their pets at home. Others like my husband and I have tried including their furry family members in their plans.
 Lori, a follower of this blog, shared a pet adventure that she and her husband experienced.  They had taken their adorable calico cat, Missy with them in their motorhome.  It got cool through the night and the furnace came on startling poor Missy who, in full panic mode, jumped onto Lori's husband.  As sleep didn't seem to be an option, they came home.  Missy now has her own little sleep area in the motorhome which seems to have solved the problem.
We took our cat, Tascha with us on holidays once when she was a kitten.  She loved being in the vehicle and, in fact, often went with me for drives.  However, this was rather a long trip and poor Tascha began to feel the effects of motion sickness.  She curled up on the floor by my feet and just drooled buckets of foam.  She never did get over that so we had to leave her at home when we travelled any distance.  I realize now that I could have given her something to help.
My friend, Tara, did give her two cats some medication to help on a trip but they fought it off until they were back home where they promptly fell asleep.
Just goes to prove, that pets, like children are just going to be themselves.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Exercise. Ugh.

Since coming back from our aborted holidays, I am, once again,  exercising each morning.   I keep trying various things but, unfortunately, have trouble sticking with it.  In the winter time, I walk.  I enjoy the scenery and the temperatures allows me to go at a good pace.  In the spring, I am concerned about bears and, of course, bugs, so I try to make a point of walking a few blocks in town each week.  Those good intentions never last into the summer so, here I am, trying again.
I have found I am more likely to stick at something if I do it at home and so I have got out an excersice cd and am keeping it in the computer.  This one is dance steps and has four different routines.  I am alternating between two of them. I doubt if I will ever look like the instructor no matter how hard I try but I do notice that I am standing straighter and my balance is better. 
If I can just keep at this until winter, I know I will benefit.  I am hoping that as I can vary what I am doing there will be less chance of getting bored.  Of course, I may have to shoot the instructor.  They are always so skinny, so peppy and so full of life.  Wouldn't it be nice to find a teacher who looked as though she just finished sending the children to school, had a face and body that appeared to live in the real world and was panting a bit at the end of the routine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bread and Quilts

It is a rainy day here in the backwoods.  A good day to stay inside and make bread which is what I am doing.  Once that is done, I will get back to assembling the blocks for the wedding gift quilt.  I am at the stage where I wonder why I start these things.  These blocks have three areas on each side that have to be joined and the center one is a point.  For some reason, I thought that it would be easier to do this without sashing.  Not sure where my brain was when I made that decision although as I think the appearance of the top was probably a factor, I still think (despite the work) that I made the right decision.
I am sure non quilters must wonder why we spend so much time just thinking about quilting but those of us with the addiction know that it is all part of the process.  I am sure that you are like me and spend most waking (and some sleeping) moments thinking about colour , top stitching and asembling choices before you even begin to cut the fabric.  In fact, there are few times when something to do with quilting isn't on my mind.
Yesterday, I received the lastest edition of Canada's quilt magazine, Quilter's Connection, and now I am thinking about one of the products I saw advertised.  It is a devise that fits on your long arm sewing machine and automates the topstitching.  Does a lot more than that but it is way out of my budget.  Of course, I have been assured that I am a finalist in the Reader's Digest sweepstakes so maybe I should put in my order!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just Another Day

There is a lot to be said in favour of routine.  The same old activity of getting up, having coffee and breakfast, exercise, check e mail, do housework etc provides a kind of security.  Holidays are fun but it is home that provides the comfort.
This week I am getting back into that routine.  Yesterday was my usual Monday quilt group.  A nice day with most members attending and we did get some sewing done in the midst of the conversation and sharing.  Last night, I got back to the wedding quilt I am working on and today, after I get the other routine stuff done, I will get back at it.
Yesterday, before coming home, I went for the mail.  As I walked up the post office steps and nodded to people I didn't know, I thought, again, about how nice it was to be home. We have been here for two years now and, much to my continual surprise, I feel like a much loved kitten-content with the world.
I wouldn't like doing the exact same thing every day although I know some people find it comforting.  I think one of the things I like about quilting so much is that while it is quilting, it can be done in so many different ways.
If you are a quilter, you might be interested in knowing I will be posting a monthly block pattern-probably around the 15th.  It will start this month.  Most patterns will be traditional but others will be my own.  They will include foundation piecing, applique and rotary cut.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quilt Day

I don't usually have a chance to post anything on Monday as it is my quilt group day but I am on the go earlier this morning.  My husband had to take our camper in for certification so that meant I had to be dressed and ready to be seen by neighbours for 8.30.
I am looking forward to getting back to group after a couple of weeks away.  I wasn't sure what I was going to take as a project but decided to start something new.  I am going to make a quilt using the Day and Night block.  It, as it sounds, has two or more contrasting colours.  The blocks are 12" so it should go together quickly.
I try to have a seperate project to work on at group as I take a different sewing machine than the one on which I do most of my quilting.  Because there is always a chance of a difference (however slight) in seam width on different makes of machines, I like to keep my work seperate.
I have also found that it is easier to take a less complicated block to group as with all the conversations, viewing each others work and helping when possible, it is easy to lose track of what you are doing.
It is quite a bit cooler here now which makes it so much nicer for working and sleeping.  I don't expect it to last but will enjoy it while it is here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sun Kissed Trees

Last night, just after supper, I was letting Heidi back in and noticed that the setting sun had created a wonderful picture.  Because we are surrounded by trees, we don't get to see either the sun set or rise but we often have wonderful side effects.
These trees are on the south side and the setting sun had reached through and turned the wood into crimson.  I have often see this depicted in paintings but first time I really noticed it 'in the flesh'.
I think I am going to put together a collage of our trees in all their various guises-sun kissed, fall finery, snow blanket, frost tinged, winter starkness etc.
It is amazing just how varied the appearance of one tree can be.

Every so often my husband and I need a few days apart (usually after a holiday). So he has gone to spend a couple of days with his family and to go to an automotive show.  I am going to be reading, sewing, reading and sewing.  I have a new quilt pattern idea I would like to try although I hesitate to start anything new until I get more of the wedding quilts finished.  Can I still be on holidays even though I am at home?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Holiday Photos

One of the  things I think everyone does when returning from holidays is to go through their photos.  I didn't take a lot on this trip as it is one we have done a number of times but here are a couple.  The goose is the well known landmark at Wawa, Ont.  I have other photos of this but I thought the workers made a humorous difference.  It looks as though they are cleaning up after the goose-and it would take a number of them with a bird this size.
These realistically designed animals at Hearst have always been amongst my favourite.  The setting  adds to the realism.  Heidi was a little nervous of the wolf.

Both these communities are in Northern Ontario and the towns are to be congratulated for, not only the sculptures, but also the foresight in having them created.  Before cars became so gas efficient, travellers had to stop in every community just to get fuel.  Now it is possible (for most of us) to drive for nearly a day without a pause. 
We always try to take a photo of every giant perogy, frog etc. that we see.  I am sure others do the same and, of course, we take the opportunity to grab a coffee at the same time or perhaps walk the main street. All this adds to the income of the community.
Have you got a favourite giant?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Home Again

We never made it to Edmonton.  On Friday morning after a night of no sleep and the weather turning bad, we decided, for the sake of safety, to return home.  the first 2 nights we had got a few hours rest but Thursday was dreadful.  Heidi barked all night.  When we checked into the motel, we told the staff that we had a hyper dog and needed to be somewhere were it would be quiet. What we got was near the front desk so people were coming in and talking, walking by the door etc. The staff talked until after midnight.  Heidi, of course, reacted to every sound. 
We got back home Sunday evening, disappointed but glad to be in our own beds. It is going to take a few days to get over the exhaustion.
Despite everything, we did have a good time together.  We got to spend some time with Roger's aunt in Dryden, picked up some amathest in Nipigon, saw moose, ducklings and amazing scenery.
We are now trying to figure out how we are going to handle future holidays as it is obvious our little dog does not like motels.