Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sounds of Christmas

We had an especially busy weekend which is normal for this time of year.  Today, I am playing catch up and getting some housework done.  I did plan to go out later this afternoon to help a friend with her computer but will have to see if our roads are passable.  Right now they are glare ice following yesterday's thaw and last's nights freeze.
As I work in the office, my husband is in the kitchen cutting up our last pumpkin.  I want to make some pumpkin curry soup and freeze the rest of the pulp for later.  Dear hubby hasn't had much experience with this job-although he volunteered, so the jolly sounds of frustrated mutterings each time the knife slips is filling the house with cheer. He is planning on a big pumpkin crop next year and I told him that it is all fun and games until you have to peel the things!  Nice to have a man that shares the household duties though and he will forget the experience once he gets a nice bowl of soup.
We are going to be decorating the tree and house this week as my brother, son and their wives are coming over on Saturday to watch our Christmas parade and then to our house for a late lunch.

Friday, November 26, 2010


As you can see by the photo, we are getting a snow fall.  This is Heidi sitting on my sewing machine table and watching the birds in the feeder just outside the window.  Earlier this morning, my husband and I went over to our church to work on some decorations for the Christmas parade float.  We had to scrape the vehicle windows before leaving as the rain that had fallen through the night had frozen.  When we got home, we made some hot chocolate and I drank that while looking out at the falling snow, listening to the radio and thinking how wonderful life was. 
I don't have any more sceduled work today so I can spend it sewing and watching the world ouside change to white.  I am glad I filled the bird feeders yesterday as our little feathered neighbours are going to need the seed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weather and QIAB

We are supposed to get freezing rain today so I guess I will have to stay inside and quilt.  Oh, pooh! 
I finished quilting the book sample quilt and am doing the binding now.  Once that is finished, it is on to the writing part.
Yesterday evening, after watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, I did a mini cleaning of my room.  I have another scrappy quilt I would like to do and, after I put all the strips from the book quilt into a bag, found that I have almost enough for this project.
The design I was working on yesterday is also a scrappy and I am sure I have enough left over strips from another project to do that.  My husband loves it when I tell him that I am working on 'no cost' quilts.  Even though he isn't a quilter, he knows the fabric had to originate from somewhere and that somewhere was a store.  Still, it does make you feel better doesn't it!
I am really trying to complete all the quilt in a bag ideas I have.  You know what a QIAB is, don't you.  That is all those bits of fabric you have stored with the pattern in a baggie to do someday. Usually you are waiting for (a) to find the perfect fabric to add, (b) time, (c) all of the above.  Of course, while you are waiting, you are adding more baggies to the pile!
My other challenge is to try and finish all these QIUB's and other projects without buying additional fabric other than batting.    I may buy fabric 'just because' as I am, after all, merely human although I am trying to limit that-the buying not the humanity.
I am going to have one more go at designing that pattern and, if I have problems, I will just do it on paper.  I would like to be able to do it in EQ as it helps me work out the fabric amounts. 
Maybe my next book should be on scrappy quilts.  Guess I had better finish this one first!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Power Outage

On Monday, I got a call saying that the hydro company was scheduling an outage from 9 to noon today.  So, this morning we had our showers early, filled a pot with water for the toilets, left off the computer and dishwasher.  Then we went outside to put up the Christmas lights.
I came back in an hour or so later and, as we still had power, made us mugs of hot chocolate.  Then as noon approached, I made lunch.  It seems a strange thing to say, but as we were all prepared to have no power, it was mildly irritating to have it stay on.
I put the computer on after lunch and washed the dishes.  After taking the dog for a walk, I sat down to design a quilt block that had been buzzing around in my head.  I was using the computer software program, EQ and, although it wasn't easy, I was making some progress.  Then, you guessed it, the power went out.  It was now 3 p.m.  It did click back on almost right away but I had lost my design.  Maybe I will try again tomorrow or just sketch it out on paper.
First I was irritated because the hydro didn't go out and then I was irritated because it did.  No pleasing some folk is there!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reuse, Recycle

Quilters are amongst the best recyclers in the world.  We can find a use for the smallest bits of fabric or thread. 
Today I have a couple of ideas to add to your 'reuse stash'.  The first is a useful object if you are a long arm quilter although others will find it a handy item as well. 
Quilters are always removing threads, snipping threads and untangling threads while they work.  A piece of batting draped over the shoulder is a good place to put them so they don't end up on the floor and either get tangled around the casters of a chair, eaten by the quilt cat or have to be swept up later (if kitty left any behind).  The size of the batting is personal preference but mine is approximately 5 inches wide by 10 inches long.  I like it long enough to have it drape over either side of the shoulder so it stays in place.  When I snip a thread, I just place it on the batting where it stays.
Pins are frequently being either stuck in a quilt or being removed.  Before I added a small pin cushion to my thread catcher, I was always moving  or searching for my other cushion.
The shoulder pin cushion shouldn't be very big and it should have something to stop the pin from going through the cushion and into your shoulder.  I cut the base from one of Heidi's dog food containers.  It is about 3 by 3.  I trim it so it is approximately an inch smaller  (2 X 2)  Place a small amount of stuffing on the base and cover with fabric.  I make an envelope of fabric slightly larger than the base and slip the base/stuffing inside.  Slip stitch opening closed. (This pattern can be used to make a small take along pin cushion for going to quilt classes or group.  Any lightweight plastic is suitable for the base.  I use the entire dog food container for my take along.  The sides of the little dish keep the pins controlled.  Heidi eats Cesar dog food but there are similiar sized pet food containers for both cats and dogs.  Some are a thin metal and this, too, would work.)
Pin the cushion to the thread catcher batting.  You will need to change your batting as it gets full of threads so it is best if the cushion removes easily.

Other Batting Uses

Batting, no matter the price or fibre content,  is useful in a number of ways.  Hot pads, coasters, change mats etc are all handy items.  However, you can also use the batting as a duster.  It can replace those 'static' cloths that seem to be the latest cleaning innovation.  Find a left over piece that is approx. the size of your mop, put it on the floor, place your mop on it and dust.  Another bit can be used to do your shelves etc.  Dust seems be attracted to the fibre batting like beet juice to a white tablecloth
If you are moving, place bits of batting between your china dishes to prevent breakage.  You can also make small bags from batting to store your good crystal, glassware and other breakables.  I am sure you can think of many similar uses.  If you would like to share your ideas with me, I will post them for others to use.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I gave Heidi a bath this morning followed by a good brushing and removal of tats.  When I was finished , she looked like a marshmallow.  She reminded me of the cartoon cats who used to get caught in the clothes dryer and, when the door opened, would float out like a balloon of hair and eyes.  (I wonder how many children thought that putting kitty in the dryer was a fun thing to do after watching those shows.)
I am finally starting to get into the Christmas sewing mood.  My husbands family isn't drawing names this year.  Everyone is giving small making it yourself or dollar store type gifts.  The children, of course, will get bought for as before.  I was reading a posting on one of the quilt groups this morning and got my inspiration.  I won't tell you what it is as some of those family members read my blog.
We got a skiff of snow last night.  It is amazing how just a little bit of white on the ground makes the night seem so much brighter.  The moon was playing peekaboo behind the clouds but when it did show its nice full face through the tree branches it made for a pretty sight.
I have always preferred rather stark photos or paintings.  A single leafless tree in a snowy field, a sagging barn, or a horse silhouetted on a hill when hold my attention much longer than something full of colour.  Strangely, that preference isn't reflected in my quilts but that is perhaps because my skill isn't sufficient.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stolen Quilts and Shopping

Those of us who quilt know how much time and expense goes into our creations.  This is especially true for those who create for shows and other exhibits.  Unfortunately, sometimes these masterpieces get stolen.  I cannot imagine how griefstricken the quilt owner must feel when they discover the loss. 
Some of these stolen quilts are sold at fleemarkets, on line auction sites or in newspapers. 
If you see a quilt for sale, check to see if there is a label on the back or a place where one used to be.  If possible, ask a few questions such as who made the quilt, the contents of fabric (cotton, silk etc).  The seller should have some information.  Of course, they could always say it belonged to their mother or other family member but it should be fairly obvious that the fabric and designs are recent.
There is also a web site you can check.  http://www.stolenquilts.com/
Some of the stories will break your heart.  There are also sites owned by quilters who have had their work-sometimes going back for years-stolen.  Please keep your eyes open for these quilts and, if you are at a show, watch for suspicious activity.
We went to Huntsville to do some shopping today.  I boughts some batting, thread and a few other sewing needs.  Then I did a bit of grocery shopping before having lunch.  After getting home, putting everything away and enjoying a cup of tea, we took the dog for a walk.  It was obvious that Heidi was feeling the need for some exercise as she dashed around in circles like a demented rabbit.Oh, for a quarter of that energy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BOM for November

Here is this months block.  You can make this block as shown or replace the small squares with strips.  The center square can be a focus fabric or a place for signatures for a wedding or other celebration.

From the purple fabric cut:
Two 7 x 7" squares.  Cut in half diagonally for the corners.
One 6 1/4" square for the center
Twenty 2" squares

Sew small squares together to make 4 strips.  Sew strips to center block.  Sew corner triangles to each side.  Press.  Trim if necessary.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Travels

This month is already half way past and I haven't even caught up with the fact that we are in November already.  These past two weeks have been especially busy with my sister's visit and my son's move.  I have also been finishing a quilt top  that will be included in my book as well as trying to keep up with housework.
The quilt top just needs the borders and then will go into the frame for quilting.  I think I am going to have to make another trip to the fabric shop for backing but will check the stash first.  I am always finding things there that I forgot I had.
My monthly BOM was due on Monday and, I confess, it isn't ready yet.  I will post it tomorrow.
Our weather has turned a bit cooler.  Yesterday we had snow showers but today the sun is shining once again and it is just a bit too warm to start the wood stove.
If you were planning on entering my contest, you have two weeks to finish your project.  You can check the October 14th post for details.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Happened to Thursday

Well, yesterday got away on me.  I didn't even realize I hadn't posted until I came to do today's blog.  We went to Burk's Fall's Remembrance Day service yesterday morning.  I don't think I have missed a service since I have been an adult.  I think it is just one of those things we should do.
A man from our church and I laid a wreath of behalf of our congregation. 
There were about 500 people in attendance which is great for a community of 1,000.  It was a well organized and moving service.  Afterwards, we went to a restaurant for a cup of tea and then back home.  The weather was gorgeous-one man was wearing shorts-and it was nice to be out.
This morning I have taken my car in for service.  I got a loaner car so have been able to come back home while they do the work.  My vehicle is one of the ones that has had a recall so that has to be done along with the winter tires, oil change etc.
Wednesday, my son and his wife came for a visit.  This is just a wonderful thing for me to have them living so close.  He has got a job and now they are looking for a place to live.  I can't wait to begin to help them decorate their home with my quilts.  My nephew and his family are moving into their new home on Monday and I am really excited for them.  Of course, this means more quilt qifts.  Isn't life great.
I just caught up on reading some of the other blogs I follow.  Quilter in the Pines is making gifts as well.
Our temperature is supposed to be around 14 today which is amazing for November.  My husband is out chopping wood and enjoying the air.  After I retrieve my car, I will take the dog (and myself) for a walk.
In the meantime, a-quilting I will go.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mid Week

I had a lovely visit with my sister yesterday.  We walked around our property and over to our younger sisters land.  It is amazing to think that in a few years both my sisters will be living in the same country and province as I do.
It is a fact of life in Canada that many of use have parents and/or siblings in another country. I believe the same must be true for people living in the U.S. as both countries receive a lot of immigration.  I don't think those of us that moved from England think of ourselves as immigrants in the same sense as those from non-English speaking countries or who were fleeing persecution although we are, of course. I am here because my mother was a war bride.  We came to Canada on one of the first trans-Atlantic flights.  I don't think you lose your heart ties to your mother country but I am very glad to be living in Canada.
My husband came home from the hunt camp yesterday-a day early.  It is nice to have him back.  I feel safer at night knowing my big strong man is there to protect us. He brought with him an antique chest that had belonged to his Grandmother.  Her family brought it from Quebec in 1900.  It is a lovely piece of oak  (I'm guessing) furniture and, although we really don't have room for it just now, I am pleased to have it.  We were given Grandma's dishes shortly after we married and they have pride of place in the china cabinet.  They were made by Brimley in England and very good quality.  Family heirlooms are very special.  The ones from my family consist of jewelry and although I don't very often wear them, I do value them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trinkle, trinkle

We had a wonderful time with my nephews family and my sister (his mother) on Saturday.  The weather was nice which made the drive extra enjoyable.  After lunch, my little three year old great nephew entertained us with story and song.  His favourite tune was "trinkle, trinkle little star" which he sang a few times much to the delight of his adoring family.  Not satisfied with that achievement, he took one of his mother's books from the library shelf and, quite seriously, read us a story which involved mommy, daddy and grandma. 
His older sister, Ellie was busy being a mom with her newest doll considering herself, at five, being much too old for her brother's antics.  Ellie always asks 'where is the little dog' a number of times as she really likes Heidi despite the fact she has been scratched by her.  Heidi is still learning not to jump on people in her desire to show affection and has caught Ellie with her sharp little front claws.  They are moving to a bigger home with a nice large lot so I am planning on taking Heidi on our next visit.
We had left the dog with her caregiver and picked her up on our trip home. Irene had her and a couple of other dogs out for their evening walk when we arrived and they were a delight to see.  Three little dogs with special collars that had flashing lights being walked by two women in fluorescent safety vests.  Quite a sight and, I am sure, people watched from their windows as they passed.  Irene, as I have said a number of times, is an absolute wonder who puts the needs and safety of her little charges first.  I am so thankful to have Heidi as one of her adoptees.
Am still working on the scrappy heart quilt and the book sample one.  This will be a busy week with Remembrance Day, my sister coming here for a visit and taking the car in for its winter readiness.  I guess my quilting will have to be done in bits and pieces. Still, it does get done, doesn't it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fast Flees the Day

Here it is Friday again.  Another month well started and another week almost finished.  I got an order from a local store for one of my products yesterday so have been working on getting that filled as well as discussing a writing job with another person.  In the midst of this, I am making bread, doing regular housework stuff and thinking about what I need to do before going away tomorrow.  One of the things on the to do list is setting the clocks back.  I will do that tomorrow morning.
I have to take Heidi to her caregivers later today, will pick up the mail and drop off the store order on the way back. Then it is supper and perhaps get some more work done on the quilt book quilt.
I wonder what it is like to be bored.
My husband is going to his families hunt camp the first of this week so I may take some time to just read a book.  My sister is coming over next Tuesday so we can have a nice visit.
I put out some bird seed in the feeder yesterday and noticed that our little red squirrel has found it.  He doesn't realize that I put the cheaper stuff in that feeder as I knew he would be around.  The better quality seed will go into the squirrel proof (I hope) container.  I took a picture of the little guy enjoying his lunch but he was hidden in the shadows so it didn't come out as I hoped.  I am sure I will have more opportunities.
Have a great weekend,

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was a bad day for my aging joints.  My right hand, left ankle, right knee and neck hurt all day.  It has been quite damp but I think it is just the change of seasons that is bothering me.  I go through the same thing when we go from spring to summer.
In any case, I did get more work done on my quilt.  I just have three more blocks to make.  Each block has four different fabrics and, as I have not repeated any choices, it is getting a bit more challenging.  To add to the difficulty, each block has a theme i.e. colour or pattern.  This is a great stash buster pattern and I hope that those who buy the book will find it a fun project.
I started adding some of the sashing yesterday to give myself a mental break.  I am not sure if I will be able to do all the strips in the same fabric.  I have set myself a goal of using only what I have which shouldn't be a problem.  I certainly have lots of fabric, but as you know if you quilt, it isn't always the amount of fabric but the yardage in each bit.
We still haven't caught our last mousie.  Haven't seen any signs but I am sure he is still around.  Going into the village today to buy another product. Tomorrow I bake again.  My other sister is here from England and we are having a family get together on Sat.  I bring the buns. I am the bread lady in our family!
By the way, here is a very simple dessert.  Premade graham cracker crust, jar of jam, packaged pudding.  Spread jam evenly over the pie crust.  Swirl vanilla pudding over the top. I used my home made jam but any of the berry type bought ones would do-medium to large jar. The pudding was the type that comes in individual cups for lunches.  One was sufficient.  If you use no sugar added jam, this is a fairly low cal. desert.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Day of Accomplishment

My husband got his deer yesterday.  He went out again after supper.  I heard a shot around 6.30 just as I was thinking that he would soon be coming in.  He is happy and I am happy for him.
I had some home made risers done for my quilt frame and got them put on yesterday.  I also tightened up all the bolts and cleaned the runners.  Once I had that finished I took out the projects that needed quilting and, now I am going to have to put the extension back on the frame.  Drat. I prefer to not have it on as my quilt room isn't very big but, I guess if I am going to do things right, I better use it.
I have almost finished the blocks for one of the sample quilts for my book so that, too, is an accomplishment.
I have another handy tip for you.  This came from one of the ladies in our quilt group.  Remember that putty- like stuff that teacher used for putting art work etc on the wall?  It can also be used to hold your seam ripper to your machine.  I have three of them and still never have one where I need it.  My thread snips I have tied to  ribbons and then attached to various places I need them.  Couldn't come up with a solution for wandering seam rippers.  So now, thanks to Davina, I am off to the dollar store for some of that stuff.  Every group should have a Davina in it.  She is marvellous at finding new products or new uses for old ones.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beautiful Morning

Welcome to our newest member who is a proud mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  Be sure to look over the previous posts for free patterns, contest etc.
Those who have been members of this blog through the last winter season will know that I tend to get burbly around this time of year.  I love the winter.  I enjoy the cold, the snow and the gorgeous scenery.  This morning was typical with the sun turning the snow laden trees into a glistening beauty that no artist can reproduce.  I am so thankful that I have a big window in my quilt room and, while I am sewing, I can look out onto all this wonder.
I have a small quilting tip for you today:  If you make your half square triangles by sewing two blocks together and then cutting in half you may find this useful.  I always cut my blocks slightly larger than necessary and then trim the finished block to square.  If you don't do this properly, you could end up with a problem.  For explanation purposes, I will give each corner a letter-a,b,c.d.  If you trim a/b side, turn and trim b/c.  By doing this, your b corner will maintain a 90 angle and the two sections of the point will meet at the corner.  However, if your first trim did not remove any fabric from a corner, you don't need the second trim.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thank You

I don't usually post on Mondays as it is quilt group day and I am trying to get out the door on time.  This morning I got up a bit earlier and, as my husband is out hunting, I am a bit more organized.
The real reason, however, that I wanted to make the effort is to thank all those who commented on my last two posts.  They got more reaction than anything else I have written.  The mouse story, especially, seemed to strike a cord.  One person commented about mice in her mother's tea towel drawer.  I smiled, checked mine and, horrors, it was full of dog food as was the drawer above. A good cleaning followed.
We still haven't caught the mouse.
We had our first snowfall of the season this weekend.  I don't expect it will stay but it sure is lovely.
Last night, we dressed our wee dog, Heidi, in her scottish tam and cape and took her to a couple of neighbours for trick or treating.  She loved the attention, we had fun and the neighbours probably thought we were crazy.  Wait till they see her Santa outfit.
If you get the newletter from Quilter's Connection magazine, I had a pattern in this month's (Nov) issue.  I am now dilengetly working on the patterns for my book, Friendship Quilts, which should be ready for purchase in the spring.
Happy All Saint's Day,