Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday and a Long Weekend

Are you doing anything special this weekend?  When you no longer work outside the home i.e. employed by others, weekends are not very important.  We only take note of them because of other people's schedules and to remember not to go to town on Saturday.  When you live in a tourism area, weekend's can be brutal for traffic both vehicular and human.  Finding a place to park, negotiating narrow streets built for quieter times can all be challenging.  Weekdays are only marginally better but better is better.
Tomorrow evening a nearby community is having an Elvis tribute artist as part of their Civic Holiday celebration.  We are planning to attend.
If I lived closer and didn't mind crowds, I would go to the Caribana parade in Toronto tomorrow.  We used to watch it in Edmonton and I enjoyed the music, colour and costumes.
I just noticed that my calendar notes that the black bears begin preparing for winter on the 11th.  I suppose they have to start early to pack on all those extra pounds (although I don't seem to need much time) but it sure makes it feel that summer is drawing to a close.
It is cooler today and my husband is out cutting wood.  Yesterday, he was marking the boundary of our newly acquired property and noting which trees need to be taken down.  We are quite pleased about having these additional five acres as it not only give us a more reasonable width to our property (the lots are all long and narrow) but adds more of the pond.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to Normal-Almost

I am almost caught up with housework and quilting.  Hopefully, tomorrow, I will have the quilt finished with the exception of the binding.  Today was one of those days when the thread kept breaking, the backing pleating and just generally making little progress.  I finally stopped and gave the machine a good cleaning.  I hope that will solve all the problems.

Today's photo is Diane's interpetation of the tablerunner pattern that I posted after getting my 25th follower.  I really like her choice of colour, fabric and border.  Isn't her quilting amazing?  You can see more of Diane's work at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It has been a busy few days.  We picked up my sister and her friend at the airport on Monday and drove back to our place.  It took them an hour to get their luggage and clear customs which, I think, is far too long a time.  However, once all that was finished, the drive home was uneventful.
We were all very tired so once the sleeping arangements, location of washrooms etc was taken care of, we all went to bed.  The next day showed off our property, visited and then  went to see my brother's new place. In the late afternoon everyone came back to our place for a barbecue.  We all had a lovely time talking, laughing and sharing memories the way family members do when they get together.  We, like many families, are scattered around the world so our times together are very special.
Today, we found out that the insurance coverage we had for the camper hadn't been put in place so it was off to Huntsville to do some shopping and get that straightened out. Back home, make sure cell phones were activated, everything was packed and the travellers were on their way.
In the midst of all that we managed to buy the property next to us so tomorrow we have to go to the lawyer to sign some papers.  Once that is done, I have a pile of laundry to do. 
I havn't been near the sewing machine since the weekend and the deadline for getting the queen quilt is fast approaching.  I will have to lock myself in the quilt room on Friday and get it done.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I think women are genetically disposed to not be able to do just one thing at a time.  This morning I was making bread, arranging for roadside coverage on our camper, doing laundry, checking my e mail and making stew all at the same time.  All this while talking to my husband and the dog (please notice that my husband was listed first!).
I cannot fathom how it is possible to start one thing, finish it, and then start another.  Can a person really accomplish much by doing things sequentially rather than consecutively?
I finished washing all the vintage fabrics today and the mothball smell seems to be gone.  Will see what happens when they get wet.  I still have a clothesline full of fabric and, as it is raining, I guess they will be there for a bit.  My next door neighbour said that she told her husband that I had the most colourful clothesline in the area!
I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my sewing machine speed control.  It is supposed to arrive today.  Tomorrow, I am off to the Haliburton quilt show and Monday heading to the airport to pick up my sister.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Yesterday, I was given a box of vintage fabrics and old patterns.  My husband's ex-mother-in-law died recently and his sister was helping his ex-wife (confused yet) go through the stuff. They found boxes of pieced tops, blocks both pieced and appliqued as well as fabric and patterns.  Shelia didn't even know her mother quilted so, I assume, they were done before the children were born. Brenda, my SIL, is going to quilt the tops and give them to my husband's two boys as a remembrance of their maternal grandmother.  I haven't seen them (the tops) yet and am dying to have a look at them. She says they are beautifully done.

A rough guesstimate is that everything is about 50 years old.  The quilt pattern books don't have a date but they were 35 cents.  The designs are Aunt Martha creations.  For those of you who are too young to remember those, they were patterns that were either printed in entirty or offered for sale in newspapers and magazines.

The fabric smells quite badly of mothballs so am washing (and rewashing) to get rid of it.  I am going to reproduce the patterns in EQ and use the fabric to make them.
I will post a photo when I get one done.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Mini Retreat

My husband has gone to Orillia to spend some time with his parents so I have the day to myself.  I am going to spend it getting the queen sized quilt ready for the binding.  I thought I would have it done yesterday but it was one of those days of mini frustrations.  Thread kept breaking so I changed the needle and then the bobbin ran out.  Finally, I started making progress and the bobbin ran out again.  Why, oh why, can't they be made so they hold more thread.  When you are stippling or anything else that is closely stitched, it seems your bobbin only lasts for a few inches.
I am going to try bottom weight thread to see if that will help.  It is thinner so, theoretically, more thread should be on the bobbin.
After I replaced the bobbin, my machine started acting funny and after trying to make it keep going, I decided to check a couple things and, you guessed it, I forgot to put the presser foot down.  That was enough of that.  I took the dog for a walk and sat outside with my husband until it was time for bed.
Today, hopefully, will be better.  I only have a side and a half of the border left to do.
Our Heidi almost has her voice completely back. She demonstrated that a few times last night when something was wandering around the garden.  Thanks to her vigilance we haven't had any deer in the garden (or an uninterrupted nights sleep.  Blessings are often mixed, aren't they?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Quiet Weekend

Before I share my latest adventures, I would like to welcome the new members.  When you have time, scan the previous posts as they include free patterns.  One day, I will have to put them all in one spot so you just have to click on it.  Always more things to learn isn't there.
On Saturday, I got my yearly boost of bagpipes.  (This group was competing for one of the prizes)The Scottish festival and parade in Orillia was well attended, lots of vendors and fantastic music.  I love the pipes.  The only downside was the heat but, with liberal applications of sunscreen, I managed to not get a burn.
We left our little westie, Heidi in a different kennel this time and scooted as the owner was taking her for a walk. Our wee dog loves her walks and went quite happily. It was the first time I left her that I didn't cry.  (I know, I am a wuss).
We picked her up the next day and was told she had lost her voice.  She had barked all night long.  I am not sure why she lost her voice this time as she always barks continuously at a kennel. I felt so bad for her.  She could barely squeek. Of course, she got lots of extra attention while she healed. Her voice was almost back to normal by Monday evening.  I must admit it was nice to not hear her bark at every sound but it was still worrisome.
It is a little bit cooler today so I am making bread and then back to the quilt room.  I have a new quilt pattern that I am iching to do but I must stay disciplined (don't you hate that word) and get the queen quilt done.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Voice from the Past

Hope you liked yesterday's BOM and sorry about all the typo's.  I usually read the blog through carefully before posting but, obviously, my mind was somewhere else.
I was probably thinking about the quilt I had on the machine frame.  I finished quilting the top yesterday and today I spread it out on a bed to see how it looked.  I am pleased with the appearance especially as this is my first effort with the frame.
Yesterday afternoon, we had a phone call from an old friend.  Brian is in the Christian Motorcyclists Assoc., which is the same group we belonged to.  When the phone rang, I thought he was calling from Edmonton but he was in Burk's Falls.  He was on his way to the Maritimes and then to Sturgis (where a huge bike gathering takes place every year) and decided to take a small detour to see us.  We had a wonderful catch up chat over a cup of tea and then he was back on the road.
Talking to him brought back a lot of memories.  We belonged to CMA for quite a while and met a lot of great bikers and had some equally great times.
Tomorrow we are going to Orillia for the Scottish Festival.  The bagpipes are in the top five of my non-liivng great loves and I plan to soak in every note.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July BOM

This month's block is called Ribbon Star.  I got it from a quilt calendar my husband bought me for Christmas. The patterns are buy Debby Kratovil and Jean Ann Wright.  There isn't anything on the box or patterns about copyright but I would still as that you give credit to these ladies when using the pattern.

For the center block you will need a 4 1/2" square of fabric. 
You will need :
2-4 7/8" squares of dark blue
4-4 7/8" of purple
2-4 7/8" of magneta
Place 2 of the purple squares on the blue
Lightly draw a line diagonally from one corner to the next and stitch 1/4" on either side of the line.  Cut on line and press open.
Place remaining purple on the magneta and repeat the previous step.
Sew the pieced blocks into rows and sew the rows together.

I almost have the green wedding quilt done.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the backing fabric tight enough in one section so have to do the rip it bit.  It is only the end of a row so not to bad.
We picked some of our raspberries this morning.  They are just starting to ripen so aren't very big yet.  We need rain.
Welcome to the new readers.  If you like what you see, please sign up as followers.  When I reach 50, I will have another special event.  Maybe a draw.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Plugging Away

I have about half the top quilted.  It is pretty much a stop and go process as I learn all the tricks.  I am either rethreading, changing needles or running out of bobbin thread.  Once I had to unpick most of a row as the backing got puckered.  Still, despite what seems to be a slow process, I doubt if I would have this much done had I been quilting on a regular machine.
Considering that I am doing this without benefit of a speed control attachment or any other of those lovely extras, the quilt looks alright.  It is probably better that I learn with the basics and then add the other stuff.  Don't have a lot of choice at the moment as the speed control is ordered but is on back order.
We took the car in this morning for a break job and to get the gear shifter looked at.  After we dropped off the car (my husband picked me up in the truck) we went for a drive and checked out a dog kennel we were thinking of using for Heidi.
I have to pick the car up again after lunch and then will be able to get back at the quilt.
I have chosen a block for the BOM and will post tomorrow.  Hope you like it.
Has anyone made the wall hanging/table runner that I posted a week or so ago?  I am looking forward to your interpetation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Quilt Frame 11

Here is a photo of my Grace frame and the Juki.  I have the backing for the queen sized quilt loaded and, with my husband's help, will get the top and batting on latter this morning.  I am not sure how clearly you can see it but at the top of the frame is a spool of thread.  The spool holder was originally on the base but I think the long distance for the thread to travel contributed to shredding/breaking problems.  I put a bolt through an used hole and, voila, new spool holder.
As you can also see, I don't have a lot of room for the frame but if I have a choice between no room or no frame, I'll take the former.
I have been exchanging e mails with a new on line friend the last couple of days which has, again, reminded me to be grateful for what I have.
I mentioned in my last posting that Roger and I were going to the boat show on Saturday.  We actually ended up going for a drive through the beautiful Bala/Port Carling area and back through Bracebridge.  These communities are all part of the Muskoka's so the scenery was wonderful.  We stopped at Bracebridge and went for a walk along the main street.  We had Heidi (our wee dog) with us and she found all the people and new smells quite exciting.
I will be posting the next BOM on Thursday so don't forget to watch for it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday and Updates

Yesterday was so much cooler that I spent the day re-organizing my quilt room and getting some housework done.  We went out for supper at the local legion.  They do a barbecue each Friday and last night it was ribs and chicken for twelve dollars.  Our neighbour's group entertained with down home music.  I am not a fan of anything remotely country sounding but realize I am probably in the minority.  The place was packed and as the people lined up for their food they were chatting and bopping to the music. 
Today, we are off to an antique boat and car show.
We have another new member sign up and for those of you who are recent followers, I would urge you to scan through past posts as there are a number of free patterns.  They are for your use but I would appreciate you giving me credit when doing show and tell. Using my company name 'Ark Angel Creations' is sufficient as that is the one under which I sell the quilts and patterns.
I am also a contributor to the Canadian quilt magazine Quilting Connections. 
A little background:  my husband and I live with our week dog, Heidi in a 5 acre maple bush north of Huntsville, Ont.  We are about 10 km. from the village of Burk's Falls.  We arrived here just over two years ago from Edmonton, Alberta and consider this our personal (earthly) heaven.
If you have made any of my patterns, I would love to see the photos.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Few Sprinkles

We got a few sprinkles of rain this afternoon.  Not enought to wet the ground but still suffiecient to give us hope that cooler weather might be arriving.  I'm not sure just what the temperature is at the moment as my computer weather page isn't working.  Perhaps it is better not knowing.
I got a bit of work done on the quilt that is on the machine frame.  I broke one needle so I replaced it with a stronger one.  Thread broke so the cone was exchanged for spool.  I know from previous experience that all this is normal.  The stitch regulator isn't working either and I will have to call the company about that.  All in all, despite the little hitches, I am pleased with what I have got done so far. 
Tomorrow it is supposed to be cooler so I am hoping to finish this quilt and get set up for the real one.
My dear and very wonderful husband has been making most of our meals lately but tonight, I will take over.
The quilt room is too hot to do much more than just perspire anyway.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Quilt Frame

It is marginally cooler today by about 3 degrees.  There is also a bit of a breeze and that helps.  I have been trying to look on the positive side.  I figure with all the perspiring and less food intake I should be losing weight.  Yesterday, it felt like an all day sauna so that has to be some benefits of that!
I have been working on putting my quilt frame together.  Not an easy job when it is so hot that it is hard to think much less follow instructions that involved dozens of different sizes screws.  Actually, the instructions are easy to follow.  Very detailed.  The problem is that I prefer to look at a picture and figure it out myself.  I am at the point where I can put the sewing machine on and once I get the final bits done, I will do my sample piece.  After I am sure I know what I am doing I will set up the Queen sized quilt.
But, before I do that quilt,  I will take the table apart and put the extension piece at the correct end.  I kept thinking that there didn't seem to be enough support and now I see why!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat Wave

We are experiencing some very warm weather.  It is just too hot to do much more than just sit and stare at the television or into space.  Too hot to even read or quilt.  Unfortunately, life continues and things have to get done.  I have completed the tops of both wedding quilts and, heat or not, I've got to get them quilted.  Before I can do that, I have to get the quilt room reorganized and set up the frame.  I am trying to work up some enthusiasim but the most I can manage is a sense of responsibility.
Our village farmer's market started last Tuesday so we went this morning and bought a fridge full of organic meat and veggies.  Some preserves and baked goodies somehow found their way into our bag and, when we got home, our tummies.
In addition to the soccer games, we have been watching the royal tour.  I admire the Queen so much.  Eighty four years old and zipping up and down steps without assistance, walking around in the heat , smiling, making speeches and not noticing if someone does the wrong thing.  I think she is marvellous. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beavers and Birds

We had an exciting an eventfilled Canada day.  After getting some housework done, Roger, the dog and I went down to the pond to watch birds.  He had been sure he had seen a scarlet tanager earlier in the week and we were both interested in seeing if he was correct.  A neighbour had seen one earlier which led us to hope they were in the area.
I haven't seen tanager nor most of the more colourful birds in years.  We have left our property so it is bird friendly-lots of native trees, shrubs, some tall dead trunks and a couple of brush piles.  We can hear the song of birds that we don't recognize and it is lovely.  It would be nicer, however, if we knew who was doing the seranading. We have books but they only help if you can see the bird.  Must find out if there is a recording of bird songs.  It we can't see the tanager, it would still be nice to know it is there.
Our small ponds is in better shape now that we have a resident beaver.  We saw lily pads for the first time on both ponds. 
When we are in that area, it is hard to believe that there is any  habitation for miles around.  The trees deaden all sound even that made by our neighbour who is adding on to his house.  This photo was taken from the bridge looking back to where the house sits.

If you are requesting a copy of the wallhanging/table runner pattern, please put blog pattern in the subject line.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day, everyone and, as it takes place on a Sunday, Happy July 4th to our American followers.
On the news this morning, the presenters asked each other which part of Canada was their favourite and it couldn't be in their home province.  The Rockies, Whistler and other beauty spots were named and I started thinking about my favourite area.  I really couldn't decide.  How do you compare old Quebec to Niagara-on-the-Lake or Stratford.  Quinte's Isle near Kingston is where I used to frequent for holidays but I also enjoy many of the older communities with their stone or Victorian houses.  Kaslo in B.C. is another favourite but so is Greenwood in the same province. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is Fredricton is intimate and full of wonderful paintings including my favourite by Dali.
This is such a vast country with a myriad of scenic and historic treasures.  We have lakes, mountains, snow, nature reserves, vast wilderness, glorious autumn colours, peaceful streams and raging rivers. There is old and new, every nationality and religion.  It is Canada. We are blessed.