Friday, October 29, 2010

One Little Mouse

I got a bit cooler yesterday so we decided to start the wood store.  I keep an old oven mitt hanging from the thing that holds the poker, brush, shovel etc. and I use it (sometimes) so I don't burn myself when adding wood.  When I took it from the hook, it thought it was a little heavy and then felt what seemed like small stones in the mitt part.  I looked inside and saw about a cup of our dogs dry food.  We thought she had been eating more than usual but now we can see what happened.
We had a mousie in the house recently and, even though we put out a trap, hadn't caught it.  No wonder.  It looks as though it was getting the dog food, carrying it through the kitchen and livingroom, up the stand and into the glove.  It must have thought it had found a wonderfully cosy place to spend the winter.  I dumped the food outside for the squirrels and the mitt into the garbage.
The ingenuity of the little creature amazed us.
We also now understand why Heidi was frantically eating her food anytime any of us came near her dish!

Bought some batting today to start my projects for the local craft fair and yesterday evening I got back to working on the samples for my book.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Wind in the Forest

Before I get into today's posting I must correct my spelling of our newest member's name.  Sorry, Lynda, I have a dear friend who uses the 'y' in her name and I usually try to make sure I get everyone's name spelt correctly.

Yesterday, we went to North Bay to visit my son and his wife.  How wonderful to be able to have them living so close to us.  It is barely an hours drive from our house and will be quicker once all the construction is finished.
After our visit, we did some shopping and then fought a head wind all the way home.  We got back in time for the hydro to go out so, as long as we had some natural light, I sorted through some papers in the quilt room and found patterns that I forgot I had.  After a candlelight supper, we played cards.  Hydro One estimated that service would be returned by seven and, sure enough, at 6.55, we had power.  It was just in time for me to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
I took this video as the wind was settling down and, as you can see, the trees are still moving.  These trees are approximately 100 feet tall.
We did have some come down the previous night and my husband had to remove one from the driveway before we could leave.  I think things are supposed to quiet down today so I can get back to my sewing and finish the big pot of chili I started the previous day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More UFO's to Finish

Welcome to new member Linda.  Be sure to check back postings for free patterns.  There is an on going Block of the Month-posted every 15th, and I started a contest on Oct 14th.
I delivered the bird quilt to its new home on Friday and it's owner was pleased with it. It is nice to be able to do something you love and get paid for it.  As I am still learning to operate my quilt frame and machine, I keep my prices lower to reflect my skill level.  I also try to put extra work into the blocks and piecing to make up for the quilting. 
One of the wonderful things about this craft is that there is always something new to learn.  One of the ladies who belongs to an on line quilt group just posted her excitement about successfully completing a few rows.  All of us who read it, could indentify with the feeling.
I have decided to tackle one of the projects that I gave up on some time ago.  The blocks consists of the lone star pattern and I had so much trouble getting all those seams to match.  I now have a different machine and, hopefully, more skill so I am going to have another try.  Last night I took apart the ones that were the worst and, after I get this blog and the housework finished, I will reassemble.  I don't think I am going to make any more blocks.  There are enough for a nice lap blanket.

Yesterday morning while eating breakfast, I saw a movement on our neighbours property.  As I watched, a little red fox trotted across the ridge.  They are such lovely creatures and, as they eat mice and other vermin, are welcome neighbours.  It has been raining quite heavily here so my husband hasn't got out hunting.  Today he is working on our wood supply.  Take from pile, chop, move to another pile closer to the house. He also had to replace Heidi's run line as it had got quite frayed.  There is always something to do, isn't there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Backyard Beauties

I have finally finished the paperpieced quilt.  It will be delivered to its new owner tomorrow and that will be the last of the orders I have to fill.  I have, as I belive I mentioned, a number of quilts to restore but think I will leave them until after Christmas-only just over 2 months away. I also have to finish up a pattern that will be included in Quilter's Connection's November newsletter.
The borders of the quilt aren't very visable as my husband's arms weren't quite long enough.  They are long enough to go around me but not to the ends of a full size quilt!
I may not get time to do a posting tomorrow so, if not, I hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comfort Foods

This is the time of year when bubbling hot stews and handmade quilts are welcome.  While winter isn't here, there is a definate coolness in the air.  The forest has gathered its multi hued blanket and the bare trees stand stark against the evening sky.  This is also the time of year when quilters who have been busy with gardening, children home from school and family holidays can, once more, spend hours quilting.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have supportive and understanding husbands (and wives) who will take a turn in the kitchen so we can finish a project.  Tonight, my husband is doing one of his wonderful stir fry's.
I like to have some make ahead meals in the freezer for the days when we are both too busy-or too lazy-to cook.  This recipe freezes well, is great for potluck meals or make and bake.  It was passed on to me by a quilty friend after my husband and I enjoyed it at their cottage.  It is simply called:
Cottage Casserole.
Use a 10 X 14 pan
salad oil
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg. Kraft dinner
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cans mushroom soup
approx. 2 cups grated cheddar cheese.
Brown ground beef in oil
Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion and cook until soft.
Stir in tomatoes
Cook Kraft Dinner macaroni and drain
Mix together soup and cheese mix from KD
Add soup mixture to macaroni stir,
Mix together with beef and vegtables.
Ladle into pan and top with cheese.
Casserole can now be frozen
Bake at 350o until bubbly.

Thank you, Evelyn for sharing this recipe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Making of a Quilter

I had a phone call this morning that made my day.  I had given my sister-in-law one of my older machines for her use although, as they are working on getting their new home ready for winter, I didn't expect she would do much with it for a while.  Pearline is one of those women who can turn a packing crate into a lovely home but I think she is happier outside digging trenches than sitting at a sewing machine.  Her phone call, therefore, was a surprise.
She phoned to let me know she had bought a cabinet for the machine and was getting it all set up in a spare bedroom.  Her first project was patching a pair of her husband's (my brother) jeans.  She went on to say that she is looking forward to making a dress and that her dream is to have a little place at home where she can sell her products.
I am, of course, thrilled.  I know that I will be able to gently nudge her toward making quilts.  After all, who would not want to!
I am already looking forward to working with her making gifts for the family and items for her store.

Just a reminder about the contest:  you are to make a wall hanging and add embellishments.  Full details are in the blog entitled 'Contest'.

I obviously didn't edit my last blog.  Typos, typos and shame on me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nov. BOM

I love shoes.  I don't buy as many as I used to when I lived in the city but I still slow down when passing a display.  I am particularly fond of high heals whether in a boot or a shoe.  Again, I rarely where them now but I still like them.  My favourite pair of heels would be bright red leather with some bling.
This month's block is in honour of shoes.  You can make yours any colour you want.  As it is an applique, you can hand or machine stitch the pattern to the background.

You will need back ground fabric 12 1/2" square and approx 10" sqare for your shoe.
Trace the shoe pattern onto a piece of cardboard, cut out and then trace onto your fabric.  If you are hand stitching, add 1/4" before cutting.  If using iron on fusable or machine stitching, cut fabric without adding the seam allowance.
Attach the pattern to your background fabric using your preferred method.

Add some bling if desired.
You may need to enlarge this photo after printing.
Have fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Contest

I have the bird quilt out of the frame and doing the finishing work on my table machine.  I like to quilt the borders separately and, if I don't have the extension on the frame, I also add them later.  I am quite pleased with the way this has turned out. 
Tomorrow I will have another BOM for you-haven't thought what it will be yet but I think it is going to be an applique.
Is there a quilting technique that you always wanted to do but never got around to?  I have a friend that does wonderful embellishments.  She did a Christmas wall hanging that had tiny strings of lights, stars and a myriad of details that must have taken hours to do.
The moderator of a group to which I belong asked if anyone did embellishments which led me to this idea.
I am going to hold a contest.  The rules are fairly simple. 

1 -Make a wall hanging (your choice as to size)
2-Add embellishments (your choice as to what they are)
3-Take a photo and of the completed project and send it to me.
Winner gets a prize.
Closing date for entries is Nov. 30
Entries will be judged on workmanship and  imagination (interpretation).


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Have you been following the plight of the Chilian miners?  This morning, I watched, with tears in my eyes, as each one rose from the depths of the earth and into the arms of their waiting loved ones.  I can only imagine their joy.  I get excited anticipating my husband's return after a being away for just two days.
He called this morning to say that he was on the way home from his hunting trip.  He is tired and cold as the heater in the van wasn't working.  I have given the house an extra polish and brushed the dog.  The fire is lit and the kettle will be boiling.  Of course, it won't take long for normalacy to return and I will be mentally grumping about his habit of leaving things where they were dropped.  Humans aren't the most rational of creatures, are they.
Last night, I lay awake for a while after letting the dog out.  Of course, I was thinking about quilting and have thought of another scrappy pattern.  I have done a rough sketch of it and will add it to my list of things to do.
I didn't quite get the bird quilt top stitched yesterday.  I have one more row of blocks to do.  I find that I can only work on the frame for a little while before I (a) get bored or (b) my back hurts or (c) both.  I have to add extensions to the legs to raise it up about four inches.  Having everything a few inches too low is one of the banes of being tall.  Can't imagine what it must be like for those who are in the extreme end of height; rather like Gulliver in Lilliput land I would think.
Another crisp fall day calling me to be outside.  I gathered up the gnomes yesterday.  They are always reluctant to leave their sunny spots and move to their winter homes.  I will let them take some of their animal friends with them to keep them company until spring arrives once again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Fun

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend.  Many of you will have been with family as Roger and I were.  We had a lovely visit with my brother and wife on Sunday.  It was still nice enough to sit outside and watch the motorcyclists and other road users pass by.  Everyone was enjoying the last little bit of colour that was left in the leaves. 
Yesterday, here in the backwoods, it got quite a bit cooler and I had the woodstove on in the evening and kept it going today.  There is definately a hint of the coming winter in the air.
After breakfast, I took Heidi for a walk and then got in some more wood.  I have set myself a goal of finishing the quilting on the bird quilt today.  I also have a paper pieced pattern to work out and another pattern for Quilter's Connection newsletter to send in before the end of the month.  There never seems to be an end of quilty things to do. That isn't a complaint, by the way.
My son phoned last night to tell me that he and his wife have moved to North Bay.  That is only an hours drive from us so I am pleased to have them so much closer.  They had been thinking about moving north but I hadn't realized the decision had been made.  Now I can look forward to another family member being here for holidays  as well as other times.
It is the strangest feeling to find myself surrounded by family with more arriving in the next few years.  I had got used to having everyone either in different countries or other provinces.  All this makes me wonder how many more surprises there will be in the coming months.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving

Our trip yesterday went well.  We gave our presentations, answered questions and returned home.  It was a long day-three hours driving each way-and I was tired when I got home  just before nine.  I did get to go to the quilt store though.  The driver, bless him, said we had lots of time so I zipped in and found a pattern I liked.  I hate going into a quilt store and not buying something even if it isn't anything I needed.  I think it is a struggle for most quilt store owners to make a profit so I try to be as supportive as I can.  I don't have the same attitude toward chain fabric stores.  They have a wide range of customers; dressmakers, upholsterers, teens in high school classes etc.  Quilt stores get quilters.
I am taking a bit of a day off today and am going to work on my bird quilt.  Tomorrow, I have baking to do and Sunday, after church we are off to my brother's to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I have been trying to make it a habit to start each day being thankful for something. Today it is for CBC where I am able to hear my classical music.  I am also thankful for this wonderful country we call home.  We have freedoms, privilages and standards of living that is the envy of much of the world.  I am thankful for those who established our constitution and laws which protect the rights of the individual and give religious freedom. I am thankful for my friends both real and virtual, my family and my faith. And, of course, I am thankful for our little dog, Heidi, who brings us laughter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the Road

Just a quick post today as I am off to a meeting as part of a committee that I am on.  There is a nice quilt store in a community near our destination but I doubt if I can get our male driver to stop there.
It looks as though it is going to be another lovely day so it will be a nice, if long, drive.
I have started quilting the bird quilt (should be two different words-one for the process and another for the project). I broke a needle before completing the first row so had to loosen the tension.  I had practiced the pattern I wanted to do but not with the same thread.  Silly mistake.  It is certainly the little things that make a difference.
This is one of the messy seasons.  In the spring, I am always having to clean up after muddy pawprints and this time of year, it is leaves.  Our Heidi has velcro hair and everything sticks to her and is carried into the house.  Trimming her hair shorter would probably help but she looks so cute with it long.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


People that know me are aware that I don't like hot weather.  I am always so glad when the cooler weather arrives and I can go for walks or sit outside without fear of sunstroke.  Even being in the house is more pleasant.  This is the time of year when we do all those chores that got delayed because it was too hot, too rainy, too buggy or we were too busy.
This week we completed two of those jobs.  The wood around the bottom of the house needed another coat of paint and the addition that my husband built also needed doing.  Yesterday we got the smaller job finished and today we did the addition.  Our house isn't very big and that little mudroom sticking out one side reminded me of a wart. (That isn't a reflection on my husband's capable work but more the way my imagination works).  Now that it is the same colour as the rest of the building, it blends in and looks very nice.
Colour has such an impact on everything we do.  As a quilter, much of the my preplanning involves colour choice.  I will often  change my mind about the border after I have it sewn on because I don't like the way the colour looks.  One of the ladies in our quilt group told us that she removed a row of fabric that she had put around dozens of blocks because she didn't think the colour was right.
Colour is very subjective.  I favour autumn tones while another friend prefers brighter more vibrant colours.  Many quilters like the combination of blue and yellow while I would rather use brown or a purple shade with either of them.  I used to have a problem with blue and green being paired but, depending on the shades, I now with use them.
This is the time of year when we especially appreciate the colour that surrounds us.  Many of the leaves have either faded to shades of yellow or are on the ground but there are still glimpses of the glory that brought hundreds of tourists to our area. I hope you had a chance to enjoy the colour in your community.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From the Beginning-A ReHash

This little blog has garnered a number of steady readers since it's beginning so I thought I would do a little rehashing.  I will try and add a few new bits for those who have been with me since the beginning.
The purpose behind this blog-as it says on the masthead, is to share my love of quilting and my adjustment to country living.  I have always considered myself a city person.  I loved the vibrancy of constant activity and noise.  I loved the convenience of having stores and entertainment nearby.
You will notice that those last two sentences are written in the past tense.
When my husband and I moved to our rural property ten kilometers from the village of Burk's Falls which is located in the heart of the Almaguin Highlands, I expected to experience not only withdrawal symptoms but also a period of adjustment.  Our home is half an hour from a small city, three hours from Toronto.  We don't get mail delivery or garbage pick up.  Despite all this, or perhaps, because of it, I am happier and more at peace than I ever imagined.
Our first days on our property, however, were challenging.  We had to prepare an area in the bush to put in our home and go through a myriad of rules, codes and waiting for inspections before we could bring in our manufactured home.  In the meantime, we were living in a bus.  It had been converted into a camper and had fridge, stove, etc but no toilet.  We spent the first couple of weeks making frantic, early morning runs into the village to use whatever washrooms were available.  We got to know the regulars in a restaurant and enjoyed morning coffee at the welcome center.  Then my husband had a wonderful idea; get a portable toilet delivered.  You have no idea what a difference that made!  At least once a week, we would spend a night in a motel or at my sister-in-laws farm.  We could shower, shop and relax for a bit.
There were some stressful times but also a lot of laughter.  The blackflies were a shock but hearing a loon early in the morning was wonderful.  Washing in a bowl of water served the purpose but showering in the rain (don't visualize) was exhilarating.
Eventually everything was done.  We had arrived on the property the end of May and were in the house in August.  We had all our services but the phone.  It arrived in November.  My mother died in the middle of August, in England, and I had to do all the family stuff on the cell phone which, thankfully, works in this area.
Two  and a half years have passed.  My husband has learnt how to make maple syrup, use a chainsaw and stack wood, I have joined a wonderful quilt group and we both attend a little country church.  I serve on a civic committee and my husband is a volunteer for a local group.  We have made many friends and feel a part of the community.
I have been able to develop my interest in designing quilt patterns and have a small business making custom quilts. 
Two years ago, we aquired a wonderful little dog which has added much humour and love to our family.  In short, we are as happy as any people can be. I do miss the convenience of the city but not the noise.  I love looking out our windows and seeing nothing but trees.  In the city, if you could see the stars, they were pinpricks of light.  Here, in the backwoods, the night sky looks as though it has been pieced by a giant finger.  The stars are huge.
There is a pond near the back of the property and it is home to  beaver, heron, otter, waterfowl and little amphibians.  We have moose, deer and bear as well as weasel and fisher.  Birds fill the trees and butterflies bless the flowers.
This might not be paradise but it is close enough for an earthdweller.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Decision Made

A few months ago when my computer crashed, I lost the pattern instructions to a book I was writing.  It was such a devestating experience that I have not been able to face putting it all together again.  In addition to that book, I was also working up a number of patterns for another publication.  I have decided-drum roll-to finish the work on the second book.
This one has a basic pattern which, like log cabin, can be used in many ways.  The pattern can be assembled either as paperpiecing or rotary cut.  I will also show you how to make the basic pattern in a number of sizes so that you can adapt it for your personal need. The book will show approximately a dozen ways to use the pattern.
I am telling you all this for two reasons.  One is in the hopes that you will be interested in it when I have it finished but the main reason is that once you say something, you feel committed.
This book will be available on line.   I will keep you posted.