Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cottage Country, My Home

This is the quilt I have been working on for a customer.  It is completely finished, label on and being delivered today.  I didn't name it but I could have called it Log Cabin Blues after the dye in one of the blue strips ran.
We were talking yesterday at quilt group about the problems associated with living in a tourism area.  Most summer visitors blend into the community.  Others, however, seem to feel that those who call these wonderful areas home should cater to them.  Our roads, lake shores, store hours etc. should all be for their convenience even though they may only be here for a few weeks out of the year.  Those of us who live here are more concerned about employment, safety for our children, health care;  all the things that our summer visitors think about when they are at home.
I am grateful for the income that tourists bring to our area and I hope that they are equally grateful that we make it possible for them to be comfortable when they come to the cottage.  Without us, they would not have paved roads, grocery and other stores, library, emergency services etc. etc. It is a symbiotic relationship; each benefiting the other.
I love my country home.  I love the (relatively) peace and quiet, seeing the stars at night, the wild animals,  and all that comes with a rural area. And I can certainly understand that if someone lives in Toronto or other large community that they love this area also.
Wherever you live, may you enjoy serenity.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wee One is Home

I picked Heidi up this morning.  She was watching out the window for me-or at least was at the window when I drove up.  I am not sure if she had just been doing that or recognized the sound of the car.  She apparently had a wonderful time.  Irene even heated up her food for her.
Of course, she is continuing to be indulged now she is home.  We took her with us when we cleaned the church and did the flowers.  There has been a profusion of treats and petting.  I am not, however, going to heat her dog food.

This is a photo-rather blurry, I am afraid, of a quilt I designed awhile ago.  I have been gathering fabrics to make it as I want each block to be four shades of the same colour.  I almost have enough so, perhaps when I get everything caught up and am back from our trip, I can get started.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I thought I ws finished the log cabin quilt but, when I turned it over to check for threads, I discovered  a fold.  So....I now have to unpick a section.  Fortunately, it isn't too much but still rather frustrating.
I took Heidi over to the lady who is going to be looking after her when we go away.  As I mentioned, she wanted to have her overnight so our wee one can see that we will return for her.  A fantastic woman.
Of course, I felt bad as I was driving to her house thinking of our poor, little girl feeling that she was being abandoned.  As I drove down Irene's street, Heidi stood up in the car with her feet on the side window.  We pulled in the driveway, Irene came out, I opened the car door and Heidi shot over to the house.  Poor little abandoned dog, indeed.  The little faker couldn't wait to get all the attention that was waiting for her.
Roger and I are going to take advantage of our pooch- less home and go out for supper.  That will teach her.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dancing on Tippy Toes

My sister had a good nights sleep and is getting back to routine as are we.  Yesterday, I phoned the owner of the property next to ours to start the purchasing process as Laura is serious about buying it.  I am, needless to say, delighted. It is going to be so wonderful having a brother within an hour's drive and my sister next door.  Another sister and nephew are also making plans to eventually move to Canada so I will soon be doing a happy dance all over the place.
I am also hoping that my friend will move here.  I am trying not to be greedy but having her nearby (along with another dear friend who is just a skip up the road) would be beyond wonderful.
While I am waiting for all those things to happen, I am going to be making a sourdough starter.  My sister picked up a cookbook in Dawson or Yellowknife that contains sourdough recipes.  I photocopied a couple and am going to try them out.
Tomorrow, I hope to have a photo of the last wedding quilt.  I just have two sides to finish and then I am DONE.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We took my sister and her friend to the airport yesterday.  It is a long, exhausting three hour drive around Toronto's west side.  We caught the beginning of rush hour and crept along in spots but, generally, it wasn't to bad.  Since living in the country for over two years, it takes me a few moments to adjust to city traffic.  I have always found that Toronto is an easy place to drive.  Yes, it is faster and a lot more vehicles but if you want to lane change you just do it.  The key is confidence or just not hesitating.  Driver's there are used to people zipping in and out.  If you are hesitant, it throws off the rythm of everyone else.  Of course, you can tell I am from out of town-I always wave thank you when someone allows me to cut in!
On the way to the airport we stopped at a wildlife sanctuary which is in the Muskoka's.  It is very well done with spacious componds and info on the animals.
One of the animals there was a moose; two of them actually.  Laura and Greg had been hoping to see one in the wild before they left but it didn't happen.  Last night, after we got home, my husband went to the back of our property to do something and heard a tremendous splashing in the pond.  He went to check and saw moose tracks.  Isn't that always the way; you travel miles to see something only to find it in your backyard!
It was wonderful having my sister here and it will take me a while to adjust to her absence but it will soon be time for our trip to Edmonton and then my other sister is coming for a visit.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Across Canada

My sister and her friend are off to Niagara Falls today with a stop at our father's grave.  They have certainly managed to cover a lot of ground during their time here.  It is fun seeing our country through the eyes of someone else. It is also interesting to hear what impressed them most.  Laura took dozen's of photos of the prairie and nothern sky.  I remember being struck by how large it appeared when I first travelled west.  It seems as though you are inside a giant, blue, upturned bowl.  However, it was and still is, the mountains that left a lasting impression on me.
There are very few people who visit Canada that don't wish that they lived here.  Those of us fortunate enough to call this country our home often fail to appreciate all that we have.
Laura will be returning home on Monday.  We haven't had a lot of time together but, if her plan of moving here holds, we will have many more hours to talk in the future.  I am looking forward to sharing our mutual love of quilting.  She prefers hand piecing and top stitching whereas I learn toward's the machine.  Not surprisingly, our preference reflects our personalities.  She is laid back and I am hurry and rush. And now I must hurry off an get the binding on my quilt.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just a Quick Note

Just a hello and good bye today.  My sister got back from her trip last night and we are into town today to shop.  They had a wonderful time and now can't wait to move to Canada.  Wonderful news for me.
I finished my king sized quilt yesterday and now just have to do the binding.  Probably won't get to that until next week. I cannot believe how busy theis summer has been.
This dog looks a little like my Heidi so thought it was really cute. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Line Friends

I am too old to remember when chat lines, one line groups, facebook and all the other means of social networking started but, I do know they have enabled me to meet some interesting people.
When my husband and I were preparing to move to Ontario, I was trying to learn as much as I could about the quilt stores, groups etc in that province.  I only belonged to one on line group at that time and took particular notice of anyone who was a Canadian but particularly those from my soon-to-be-home Province.  I contacted a couple and exchanged a few e mails but one lady and I became friends. When we moved, she and I and our husbands arranged to meet.  Everyone got along and we have continue to stay in touch.
Yesterday, we went to visit her and her family at a resort near Huntsville.  I met her son, daughter, their respective partners and her wonderful three grandchildren.  We had a lovely visit, caught up on some news, exchanged quilting stories and enjoyed sitting by the lake and watching the children play.
It was a rather strange feeling being introduced to the family as, through our e mails, I already felt as though I knew them.
There are a number of ladies in other groups to which I belong that live reasonably close.  I am seriously thinking of organizing a get together somewhere for those who would  be interested.  It is always nice to be able to put a face to a name and, who knows, I could find another 'real time' friend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mmmm! Raisin Cookies

It is much cooler today so I made cookies.  I have a favourite recipe in my old Purity cookbook circa early stone age.  It makes seven dozen so if I bake them quickly there will be some left after my husband 'samples' a 'few'.
We are going to a resort to visit a friend this afternoon and, as she will have her grandchildren with her, I thought some cookies would be a nice hostess gift.
I think it is supposed to stay cool for tomorrow so I will be baking bread and perhaps so oat cakes or molasses cookies.  Our church picnic is this weekend and cookies are always nice to take for those who don't want a huge dessert. I always get in a baking mood when it cools down after a hot spell.  Of course, canning season is just around the corner so I will so get tired of it.
I  bathed our Heidi this morning and worked out some of her hair tangles as she is is also invited to the resort.  I want her to be able to put her best paw forward.  Pets always look so funny when they are wet, don't they.  All eyes and nose like a cartoon character. Don't tell her I said that.  She is quite vain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August BOM

Here is another of those projects that will use up some scraps.  It is a variation of a number of patterns but, as this one is mine, I will call it:
Scrappy Quarters.

You will need a number of strips (widths can vary) of at least 16" long
Sew strips together to make a block 16" X 16".  (do not trim at this point)
Cut block in half and then half again so you have  4 squares.
Stack squares face up and cut diagonally from one side to the next, starting approx. an inch from a corner.
Leave sections together and take one section from right side group and move it to the bottom of that group.
Sew sections together to make 4 different squares.
Repeat previous step (stack squares, cut) but this time cut the squares from the opposite side.
Move two pieces from right group to the bottom
Sew sections together.
Trim squares.
Sew squares together.
Trim to a 12 1/2" block.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Starry, Starry Night

Our news report said that we should be able to see a meteor shower last night so at 9.30 we gathered our chairs and sat outside.  We saw a couple of bats, some fireflies and lots of clouds but no meteors.  This seems to be a continuing saga for us.  Once while living in Edmonton, we drove out of town, parked the car and lay on the hood waiting for the spectacle.  No luck.
All nightly phenomenons seemed to be timed to occur when it is cloudy.
Today, we heard that the deal for our property purchase has gone through.  My husband says that all good things happen on  the 13th and he seems to be right.  Both my brothers were born on the 13th of the month as is my mother-in-law. We bought this property and sold our home in Edmonton on the 13th.  All coincidence of course as plenty of other good things happen on different dates-our wedding for example.
I have been trying to think of a BOM for this month.  So far, inspiration hasn't hit.  I think it may be an applique though.  Nope, just thought of one. This is a fun block and easy to do. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hummingbirds and Quilts

Our hummingbird feeder has been especially busy the past few days.  We have four or five of the tiny creatures that are feeding, playing and hanging around the area.  They are always busy.  Once in a while they will sit for a few seconds on the feeder or a nearby branch but, usually, they are zipping off somewhere.  Occasionally, we will see them flying in a close group as though they are playing.  They are amazing little birds.
I took my log cabin from the frame yesterday and started removing threads and checking for areas that need redoing.  I am quite pleased with the result.  I thought, given the problems I was having with the machine, that there would be a lot of mistakes.  I guess I am getting pretty good at hidding them.
Last evening, while unpicking an area, my seam ripper came apart.  I have never had that happen before and wonder if it is mute protest over how much it gets used.
My husband is off again today.  This time to join his parent on a boat cruise on Lake Couchiching in Orillia.    He has had a busy week.
My sister phoned from Dawson in the Yukon Territory last night.  This small town has kept its 'gold rush days' period and Laura said it is just like stepping back in time.  The roads are dirt, sidewalks are planks and the buildings (which she said all lean into each other) are just as they were back when gold was being mined. She is truly having a trip of a lifetime.
I have to start thinking about the BOM for this month.  The fifteenth is on a Saturday so I will try and post for Monday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Husband

Roger has been helping a friend do some work this week so I have had the house to myself.  It is rather a strange feeling as, unless is hunting or visiting his family, he is around all the time.  Before we retired, we both worked outside the home so I have never had that 'see husband off to work' experience.
I must say I am able to get more done quicker when he isn't here but that is my fault not his.  We usually watch the morning news for a hour whereas this morning the tv stayed off.
Now that the housework is done, I am going to get the quilt finished while it is still cool.  I only have two more rows to complete and then it is on to the unpicking.
I am waiting for some new specialty thread to arrive in the mail and may not do the resewing until it is here.
Heidi did very well on her visit to the pet lady and the vet.  Did I tell you she had a black mark on her tummy that I was concerned about?  Vet said it wasn't a tick or anything else he could determine so I am just to keep a watch on it.  I did find out that our little one has put on another two pounds so it is time to start watching the weight.  Won't tell you what I need to do for myself!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Little Dog and Approaching Fall

Much of today is focused on our Heidi.  I have an appointment with vet later on as I noticed a black mark on her chest yesterday when brushing her.  It looks as though it might be a thorn but I also want to make sure it isn't a tick.  She hasn't been eating as much as before and with Heidi that is always a sign that she isn't herself.
After that, we are going to see a wonderful lady who is going to look after Heidi when we go to Edmonton in Sept.  Irene wants to have Heidi for an hour or so today so they can get to know each other and then overnight before we leave.  She says she likes a pet to know the owner is going to come back so she likes to have a couple of preliminary visits.  She only takes one dog at a time and it stays right in her home.  She sounds like a jewel and is much in demand so we are fortunate to be able to get an appointment.
One more Heidi item.  A dog treat commercial came on television and I guess Heidi must have heard the magic word because she ran over to the set and tipped herself up into her 'beg' pose.  One of those times when you wish you had had a camera handy.  A friend says her two little pugs run into the next room when they hear a dog bark on the tv.  They seem to think the animal is somewhere in the house.
I am progressing on my log cabin quilt.  I should have the top done today and then will start taking out the rows that need redoing.  I am doing my 'learning' process on someone's quilt which isn't the best idea but, given time restraints, is all I can do.
Some of our leaves have started changing colour.  The soft maples are the first the announce autumn..  Apparently the black bears start preparing for winter tomorrow.  Do they have calendars?  Do they all start on the same day?  In any case, despite the warm weather, I guess change is happening.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Little Philosophy

I was awake early this morning and thinking about quilting-what else and realized that there is much about our craft that teaches life lessons.
We humans aren't too fond of the down times; those days (weeks, months) when nothing goes right.  It is normal to dislike illness, bills, heartaches and other facts of life but I believe they can, if our mindset is right, contribute to our growth.
When you sew, the needle of the machine goes down into the fabric as often as it goes up.  If it didn't descend, the upper thread would just lay on top of the fabric instead of being incorporated into a stitch that binds everything together.
Our down times, as difficult as they are, help us to grow, develop our character and enable us to be more understanding. I wouldn't want to have nothing but problems, and I admit that I am a long way from embracing those that I have, but I can see where they have helped me mature.  Just as the hot days help me appreciate the cool, the difficult makes me more grateful for the blessings.
Today, I am thankful that the weather has cooled down.  We had a strong wind yesterday evening and it seems to have blown away the heat and humidity.  The trees were bending so fiercely that we were sure some of the older ones would have come down but my husbands inspection this morning showed that everything seems to be still upright.
We had a wonderful visit with our friends yesterday and now we are hoping that they decide to move to our area.  There is some land available just adjacent to ours that would be perfect.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fun with Groups

I've mentioned this before but, as we have a lot of new members, I will repeat.  I belong to a number of on-line Yahoo groups-nearly all quilting related, of course.  One was started by my quilting friends in Edmonton as a means of keeping in touch, another is quilter's who are also cat lovers.  All the other groups focus on various aspects of quilting-long arm, EQ.  One is regional;  just for Canadians. 
Each group, no matter their reason for being, consists of caring women who are generous with their time and experience.  If anyone has a problem or a question, they will receive a myriad of replies.  As the members live all over the world, I also learn bits about other countries and cultures.  I am constantly amazed at how  people from far and wide are so fluent in the English language.
Many of the members of this blog are from the on line groups.  Some have even become good friends.
Computers can certainly be the source of a lot of good.
This morning we are waiting for friends to arrive.  The husband who is a mechanical genius is going to take a look at my husband's tractor.  It quit working shortly after he bought it which put a crimp in some of the work he needs to do.
I have been friends with this couple for many years and, as Carol is also a quilter, I am looking forward to a nice visit.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

It has been very humid the past couple of days.  It was rare to have humidity in Edmonton and not often here in the backwoods either, so it really wears me out.  I trimmed our Heidi this morning so she should be feeling a bit cooler. 
Last night, we went outside to watch the northern lights.  We only got glimpses as it was cloudy but they are an awesome sight.  My most vivid experience of them happened a few years ago when I was still doing driver's ed.  I was teaching some students from a school just north of Edmonton and was returning to the city with them when I noticed the sky was full of swirling, dancing colours.  I wasn't sure what they were (being a city person) until one of my students told me that what I was seeing was the northern lights.  What a phenomena. 
My husband has gone to Orillia today to spend some time with his parents so I am, naturally, quilting.  I have to make the quilt lines on the log cabin quilt before sewing.  It is a bit of a problem knowing what to use as a marker as the quilt is blue and white.  I think my disappearing purple will work but am testing it first.
It is clouding over here so we might be getting some more rain.  If the hydro goes out, I may just have a nice day of reading!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This is the quilt that I have been working on for the past while.  It is queen sized and  to be a wedding gift.  Now this one is finished, I need to get the other in the frame and get it quilted.
Today is market day so, after getting my hair cut, we perused the various vendors stalls.  I bought some organic biscuits for the dog, some garlic and a garlic salad dressing. (We like garlic!  Did you know it is good for keeping mosquitos at bay?)
There was also a booth with donated items for sale.  A friend saw some quilter's stencils on it and grabbed them for me.  Two of them had corners.  Yea!
I always like farmers markets as I am able to support the local economy as well as find some unique products.
It has been quite humid here and the houseflies seem to be especially annoying.  My studio fan should solve both problems.