Friday, December 30, 2011

Good bye 2011

Christmas 2011
As we make our way through the last couple of days of 2011, I leave you with this photo of our tree and the light from the wood stove.

May the peace of Christmas stay with you throughout the new year and may you be surrounded by the warmth of friends and family.

Remember to do something you love on New year's Day so you start the year right.  I will be quilting, visiting family and enjoying the outdoors and doing it all with my husband and wee dog,
Blessings to you all,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Milestone

A reader of this blog was kind enough to let me know this morning that I now have 50 followers.  I am thrilled.  When I started writing this three years ago, I thought my family and a few friends might be the only ones who would find it interesting but as the days and months went by, more and more people signed up.
I now am fortunate enough to have regular readers from most countries in the world. I enjoy writing but it is a lot more rewarding when someone is reading the words.  I read somewhere once that if no-one is following you, you are merely going for a walk, not leading.  A writer, on the other hand, is always a writer just as a painter will always deserve the name even though they are the only one to see the canvas.  However, when a writer is paid for their words (whether monetarily or via comments) you are on a different level.  I have been fortunate enough to have reached that.  I get reimbursed through both methods.
I thank you all for your encouragement and sticking with me when what I had to say wasn't very interesting.  I thank you for your comments and your honesty.  In return, I would like to give you something.  I would like to give you one of my down loadable patterns.  There is absolutely no cost.  I will be giving you a coupon to get the pattern.  This is a limited time offer and I will give you the details tomorrow.
We are having another wonderful day.  I went into town for the mail and then took Heidi for a walk.  It was more of a bounce on her part as the snow is getting deep in the bush.  Didn't slow her down any though.  I had put some little booties on her to protect her feet from the cold.  One came off before we  left the driveway.  Another came off on the trail.  I retrieved both of them and brought them home in my pocket.  A third booties dropped off unnoticed so she bounced home with one clad foot.  Oh, well, we will find it in the spring.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favourite Day

We are experiencing my favourite type of day: cold, sunny and snowy.  It is minus 15 so not really cold but enough so that it feels crispy when you walk.  It is also cold enough that the snow doesn't stick to the dog so I won't have to keep putting her in the sink to melt off the snowballs.
I am just finishing a dress that I started ages ago and then I want to begin my manger gift.  This is an idea I got from a lady on a on line group.  You make something from fabric or a pattern you received as a Christmas gift and then donate to a charity.
My husband gave me a wall calendar that came complete with patterns and I am going to make one of them to donate.  Have my eye and a couple more I want to do as well.  I haven't been doing much sewing on my machine lately as I can't seem to put down my hand applique. However, I think I will go back to doing that while watching the news.  It is nice to have a something different to give the brain a break.
I am mentally working on (WIM instead of WIP) a applique block pattern for newbies.  I have found that circles are difficult as well as points.  This block will be a simple pattern but will contain a number of those shapes.
Have to go into the village to get the mail this afternoon and need to fill the bird feeders but, first, I am going to sew.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And Today Is...?

Strange Light
I am having a hard time getting back to routine.  It is only the 28th (I think) so I am not exactly behind schedule.  Of course, being retired, I don't really have a schedule but I usually have some sort of handle as to what day it is.  I guess because we didn't have church on Sunday or quilting on Monday it is understandable that I would be a bit confused.
I took this photo yesterday evening and this was the actual colour of the sky.  Everything was tinged with mauve.
Excuse me while I brag about our Heidi.  We spent Christmas day with my husband's family and Heidi had a great time being fussed by everyone.  She got a large parcel full of doggy things including shampoo, various coats and bootees and was, as is her due, spoiled.  While we were all chatting away, my husband said 'Look at Heidi". She had gone to my handbag, picked up her leash and brought it to me.  I put on the leash and took her outside where she took care of business.
We are getting a weather warning so it is nice to be safe indoors.  I have already taken Heidi for a walk; and then spent 15 minutes melting the snow from around the feet, so we don't have to go out.
Hope you all had a good and safe Christmas,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to Everyone

We awoke to a lovely day.  The sun is shining, there is snow on the ground and the sky is blue.  A perfect pre-Christmas day.
I would like to wish you all the most blessed of Christmas'.  I am sure you have been rushing around trying to make everything perfect for your family.  The house smells wonderful from the cooking, parcels are piling up under the tree and your sewing machine is starting to cool down. 
It is important to remember in the midst of all the preperations of why we are celebrating and, despite our best efforts, we cannot make everything problem free.  In fact, it is the mishaps that contribute to the memories.
Also, Christmas does not prevent tragedy.  If you are experiencing difficulties, remember you are never alone.  You might not be aware of how many people are thinking of you and care about you.  If possible, get out and get together with others in similiar situations.  Many churches and community groups serve meals to those who are in need.  It doesn't matter if your need is financial, companionship or whatever, you will be welcome.  It also helps to do something for others:  serve, donate, visit, smile.
I have been where many of you may be so I understand and I do care.
Blessings to you all,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heidi's Christmas

I took Heidi to visit her caregiver-Auntie Irene, today and to give her her gifts.  Whenever we get near the community where Irene lives, Heidi starts getting excited.  Her caregiver is such a wonderful blessing to those of us with dogs because she loves them as much as we do.  I am sure we are not the only ones to remember her at Christmas.  She is so popular that if you don't book her a year ahead for summer weekends you will be out of luck.  She only takes in one-or if they are sociable, two, dogs as a time.
I have booked for next December already as we will be going to England for a wedding.
My husband is off to do a bit more shopping so I am wrapping presents today.  We have got a skiff of snow so many get a white Christmas after all,

I posted this picture of Heidi last year but just couldn't resist doing it again.  She looks so mortified.  She did get a nice piece of bacon afterwards for being so understanding!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Three More Sleeps

I finished my shopping yesterday, decorated the church today and just have some sewing left to do.  I have found that it doesn't matter how early you start your Christmas preparations, there is still things to do right up to the last minute. When we lived in Alberta, we always had Christmas day at home so I had all the meal to get ready.  There was usually just the two of us but I sill liked to have a big spread.  Then, on Boxing Day, we had left overs and my husband put the meals together.
Now, we always join my in-laws for the meal and gift giving so I don't have to a lot of cooking other than the cookies etc. that are gifts or for company. I would prefer the get together to be on boxing day especially as the children are growing up but it is, what it is.
It seems that most of Canada is going to have a green Christmas.  That will be nice for those travelling.
As we count down the last few hours, I hope you have time to stop and reflect on the reason we are celebrating.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sale Ends Tomorrow

If you are interested in learning or improving your free motion quilting skills, you might want to check out this challenge.  Go to: for details.  Basically, you will be given a pattern a month to learn.  There are a number of excellent instructors including Leah Day, my personal favourite.
It starts in the new year so there is still time to sign up.  It is also free.
Tomorrow is the last day for the 25% off sale at Sister's Quilting Expo and my web page. Check out the neat Victorian items if you are looking for a special stocking stuffer.
We finally got a bit more snow.  Just a layer but, once more, everything looks lovely.
Now that the mud is covered, I can take Heidi for her walk.  Right now she is trying to get me to throw her favourite toy; a ball tied in a sock.  She spends hours tossing it in the air, shaking it and whacking my husband on the ankle with it.  Lots of fun.
Hope your day and weekend is equally joyful.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Week and Three Sleeps

Christmas is just over a week away but you can't tell by the weather.  It is raining here in the backwoods and our snow has all disappeared once more.  I find it discouraging.  Not only does it look dreary, but it also feels it.  I want to see white spread around the bush, over the mud and sticking to the trees.
Yesterday, I tried to take Heidi for a walk but it was so muddy, I gave up.
I did, however, finish my baking and now I have a pulled muscle in my back.  Too much mixing, kneading and bending over a counter that is a bit too low.  On a brighter note, the house smells lovely and I have goodies filling every container.
I think I am oging to put some Christmas music on the radio, ignore the weather and sew.  I need to get the Noah's Ark wall hanging on the frame so it can be quilted.  I think I will do a simple meandering design on it.
I hope your Christmas preperations are well under way.   My husband and I have been watching a lovely show on television called  Christmas on a Victorian Farm.  It originated in England and takes place on an actual Victorian era working farm. There is lodging (not cheap) where you can stay and, I am assuming, take part in the activities.  We have a trip to England planned for next year for a December wedding.  I might see if we have time to take a run to the farm.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whew! That's Done

I have finished my baking.  Took two days but it is done.  I am not sure why I do all this when there is just my husband and I and neither of us should be eating these goodies.  Still, it is part of the Christmas celebration, isn't it.  And, of course, it can all go into the freezer to be used over the next few months.
I would like to pass on some information to those who like to make crib quilts.  Apparently, they are not recommended for babies as they could get them wrapped around their face.  Crocheted or knitted covers are better as the baby can still breath.
I think that for any ones I make in the future, I will tell the Mom to just use it on the floor for the baby to lay on.  Tucking it around the car seat or carriage would also work as the babies movements are restricted.
There seems to be so many more safety things to be aware of now.  When I think of how I grew up-bikes with no brakes, no helmets, no safety plugs on electrical outlets etc., I wonder how we all made it to adulthood.  Of course, many didn't and that is the point.
Children are so precious and, as quilters, we need to keep informed on what we can do to protect them.
We recently had a near tragedy when our grandchildren got into some medication and had to be hospitalized. They are just wee tots so it was quite a scare.  They are out of hospital now and I pray there are no long term effects.  It is hard not to point fingers and lay blame at a time like this but it wouldn't achieve anything.  It is especially difficult when they live so far away but, I guess, near or far, it doesn't stop things from happening.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Way-Oops

My Way Quilt With mistake
I finally got this quilt finished.  I am really pleased with the pattern.  I did the quilting in a butterfly design which I decided I didn't like about half way through.  However, when completed, it did add a touch of texture. 
When I took this photo and then looked at it, I notice I made an error.  Can you find it?  I did the same thing on another block and corrected it before quilting and binding but I am afraid this one is going to have to stay.  So, I guess the quilt is aptly named in more ways than one.
This pattern, minus the error, is on my web page.  There is a lot to recommend digital photos and the ease of correcting mistakes is a big one.
I am in a baking frenzy today.  I am late getting my Christmas goodies made but that only means they will last a bit longer.
There are only 4 more days left for the 25% off sale at and

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Suggestion for a Christmas Gift

I have a nice stew cooking on the woodstove, have taken the dog to the vet, picked up the mail and answered my email.  After I finish this, I can quilt. It has been snowing since yesterday so the driving conditions aren't the best.  Our vet is in the next village north of us, about half hour drive.  I really have to concentrate as I get near there because the road was changed when the highway had more lanes added.  I forgot, however, to pay attention when I was leaving and ended up driving west instead of south. 
If you are looking for a good book to get a young teen I would like to recommend, Back in Her Time by Patricia Corbett Bowman.  It is available at Chapters/Indigo bookstore at under $20.00.  It is a good read and even though it is written for a young person both my husband and I enjoyed it.  I can only tell you a little bit about the story as there is a plot twist.  It is about a young female soldier fighting in the second world war.  Didn't know that women were in active service back then?  Read on.  Pat is a Canadian writer who lives in B.C.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter's Contrast

We have had another outage.  It was just for a couple of hours this morning but as we are getting snow squalls right now, it may go again.
It looks lovely outside.  The wind has packed the snow against the trees and the sun is shinging brightly.  Behind it all, the sky is a dark grey.  a real study in contrasts.
I finally finished quilting the quilt that I had on the frame.  Between outages and schedules, I didn't think I would ever get it done.  I stitched a butterfly pattern on it and, at first, I didn't like them but now it is done, it really adds some texture.  When I get the binding done, I will post a photo.
I now have some Christmas gifts to get done as soon as I decide on the backing fabric.  They are all small projects so they shouldn't take too long.
Just a short note today to make sure I can get it posted.  Tomorrow my little Heidi goes to the vet for her annual.  However, if this storm continues, I may have to postpone the appointment. She would be happy.  She doesn't mind the vet but she hates the bath I give her beforehand.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fire Starters

Stolen Quilt
This photo is of a quilt that was stolen from a show in the U.S. recently.  Please keep your eyes open as you attend quilting events.  I can only imagine how devastated the designer must be.

On a vastly different subject; I make starters for my wood stove and thought you might find them useful also. They work well for a campfire and, if you have access to a surplus of material, they would make great fundraisers for a group.
You need dryer lint, old candles, egg cartons and a metal container for melting the wax. Old newspapers to catch the drips and a pair of oven mitts will also be useful.

Put the candles in the metal container and place over low heat.  I melt mine on the wood stove as it is less hazardous.  If the candles have the little metal wick holders on the base, remove it.  Wicks can be left.  Make sure you don't leave the stove while the wax is melting.  In the meantime, stuff the dryer lint into the egg carton pockets.  Put the cartons on newspapers and, using hand protection, carefully pour the wax over the lint until they are soaked.  Let set.
Place one under the kindling when starting your fire.
I have tried dog hair, sawdust and paper but nothing works as well as the dryer lint.
I just tear off the pocket needed and include the carton top as well. You could, if desired, cut the sections apart with a sharp knife.  Good luck.  Let me know if you make them.
You have a week and a half left for the big 25% off sale at and  It ends on the 17th.  Remember that purchaser's names go into a draw for a lovely 12 Days of Christmas panel. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Saturday was one of those good days,  bad day situations.  We won third prize for our Christmas parade float which was nice.  Entering the parade takes time and work but our church likes to present something that depicts the true meaning of Christmas so the effort is worthwhile.  Winning a prize isn't important but it is nice to have your effort appreciated.
That was the good part of the day.
After we got home, I did a load of laundry and found that one of the fins inside the tub had broken off.  I doubt if it can be replace but my husband has to find a way of fixing it so it doesn't snag the clothes. While I was doing laundry, he went out with our little dog to do some yard work.  A little while later, he came back in and asked if Heidi was in the house.  She had disappeared.  We spent the next half hour or so-it seemed like hours-walking around the property calling her, looking for tracks, peering through the trees.  As she is white, it is very hard to see her in the snow.  It was also very worrying because we couldn't see any tracks.  Our fear was that she had been grabbed by another animal.
I, of course, was trying very hard not to panic.  I just don't know how I would deal with losing her.  Finally, my husband thought of opening the door to the shed and there she was.
  After a good cry, it was time to get supper which led to the third problem.  The oven wouldn't heat up.  We dragged down the toaster oven and used it.  We tried the oven again later and it was working so we think it may have been a glitch because of all the power flicking on and off.
There haven't been any more trails since then so I am, once more, starting to breathe normally.  Life sure has its challenges, doesn't it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hydro is Back-I Think

Our power went out again yesterday-twice and was off all night. It returned again this morning and, hopefully, will now stay on.  I had to resort to washing my hair in melted snow when I got up as I couldn't stand it anymore. My husband phoned while I was in picking up the mail to let me know we had power and that he was running round flushing toilets and filling containers with water, just in case.
It has been a bit frustrating but, as I keep saying, it is better than living on the streets.  I think we better get the generator ready for use as, much as I hate the sound, I don't want the water pipes to freeze either if we go through this again later in the winter.
Winter Sky
I haven't been able to do a work day this week so will have to find time to catch up.  Next week is going to be busy with vet appointments for our Heidi, shipping and meetings but things slow down at the end of the week.
It does seem as though everything happens at once, doesn't it, but I guess that is normal.  It is for me, anyway.
This is another of the photos that I took on Wednesday.  I love the colour of the sky.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Back

Winter Sky
All Things Bright and Beautiful

After the Storm

Our hydro was out from Tuesday midday until around 10.30 this morning.  The ice storm knocked out power to about 30,000 homes but, my, it was lovely.  We went outside yesterday as the ice was starting to fall from the trees and the whole forest was tinkling with sound.  Amazing.  I am now working at catching up with all my e mails and the dishwasher is working overtime.