Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snowed In

Winter Wonder
We had over a foot of snow fall from early Saturday until just after noon on Sunday.  We couldn't get out to church as the car couldn't plow through all the snow even thought it was light (the snow not the car). When I cleaned off my car yesterday before going to quilt group, I could see where the snow had been pushed all the way up to the hood.
Guess we should have used the truck but we probably wouldn't have been able to get back up the driveway anyway.
So, we stayed home and had church together and the dog was allowed to join us which doesn't usually happen.
I don't mind being snowed in although we did miss not being able to get to church.
Yesterday, while at quilt group. I got the blocks for the quilt I have been working on laid out.  It took quite a while with another lady helping with the arrangements.  I am pleased with the look and am now sewing the blocks together.  Should be able to post a photo tomorrow or the day after.  I was planning on going into Huntsville tomorrow to shop but as I have a doctor's appointment next week, I may as well do everything at once.
I have mentioned previously that I have been writing for an online magazine.  The first column will be in this month's issue so, when it is out, I will let you know.  You will have to subscribe but, if you are a quilter, you will enjoy the magazine just for itself.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Completed Chicken

All Done
I have finished my Funky Chicken block.  I put off adding the eye for a couple of days because I was worried about doing a piece that small.  Then I realized that I was being silly.  If I did it wrong, what would happen?  Would I be arrested by the quilt police?  Would someone come in and take my quilting supplies?  I decided to just get on with it and cut out the circle before sitting down to watch the morning news.  (I do all my applique while watching the 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. telecasts).  I am reasonably pleased with the result.  It is flat on one side but I did do it.  Now perhaps I won't continue to avoid other patterns that have small or intricate pieces.  I have a pattern that I bought some time ago and have been waiting until I get a bit of experience before tackling it. Maybe I will get that out and get started. Then again, maybe I should finish my other project first.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Deer are Back

Another week almost over.  Yesterday, it seemed as though it was taking a long time to get going and today it has jumped to the finish.
My legs feel tired today as we went for a walk through the bush and had to wade through some deep snow in one area.  The trail was packed down but I like to wander into different sections.  I almost lost my balance a couple of times.  Wouldn't have been a disaster but I prefer to avoid a tumble if I can.  I always carry a cane and it helps to tilt me back in the right direction. 
We had some deer in the yard this morning; our first this winter.  I think they were hoping to get a quick bite from one of our bird feeders but it is surrounded by about 4 feet of snow so I don't think they could reach it.  I will have to check later.  We don't usually put anything in that one in the winter as the deer clean it out almost before we get back  into the house.
I don't think they are starving even if they can't get an easy meal.  It has been such a mild winter that I am sure they have lots of things they can nibble on.  A number of our neighbours feed them as well.  We keep an eye on any we see and if they start to look scraggly, we will put something out.  However, they all look nice and plump this year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Bird in a Wreath

Baltimore Album Block
This little bird is my latest from the Baltimore Album I am doing. (still have to add an eye and leg).  I have to order some more patterns from Quilter's Cache but, in the meantime, I am going to remove some pieces from a couple of the previous blocks.  My skill has improved since I started-which is good, but now I can see how sloppy my first efforts were.
My problem is that I don't like to practice.  Or rather, I don't mind the practice but I have to have some purpose for what I am working on. I should have appliqued my practice pieces to a background fabric that could have been turned into a place mat and then I probably would have kept on.  I doubt if I have learnt anything from this though as I have been like this all my life.  I tend to just jump in with both feet and hope I don't land on glass.
I completed all the blocks for my scrappy top yesterday and now am trimming them to size.  I will take the blocks to quilt group where I can lay them all out and decide how I want to put them together.
I am meeting a friend for lunch today.  A nice treat.  Tomorrow, my husband and I are going to another friends for supper.  Guess this is our social week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January Freeze and Thaw

Beautiful Sunset
Yesterday, our temperatures were well above freezing and we had rain which took away a lot of the snow.  Today, we are back to cooler weather and it is lightly snowing.  The tree trunks are almost completely covered in snow so the backwoods is a study in grey and white.
I took this photo Sunday just before 5 p.m.  A glorious sunset that seemed to go all around the property.  As it formed, the snow took on a faint pink tinge and the tree tops where touched with a brilliant red.  What a contrast to today's scene.
I am hoping to finish the top of one of my scrap quilts today and will post a photo tomorrow.  Then the top will be added to the growing pile of unquilted projects..  I need more batting but am waiting for a sale before getting some.
Have you noticed that the batting seems to be thinner?  It must be a struggle for manufacturers with the cost of raw products going up and not wanting to pass the increase on to consumers.  So many things seem to have less in the package with the same price.  I have noticed this particularly in bread.  There will be a really good sale, you buy a few loaves and don't really pay attention to the fact that there are less slices.  Then the price returns to normal with the smaller product.  I think I would prefer the price increase.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Last Day for the Gift

Funky Chicken
This is the little wall hanging I made for my husband.  It is from a pattern on the Quilters Cache web site. I made it in a bit of a rush so the workmanship isn't as good as I would have liked. I have also signed up for a chicken  block of the month that is appliqued. A friend sent me a link to the FatCat Patterns site and she has some great patterns.  I had promised myself that I wouldn't start any more applique projects until I finished the one I am doing as the process is so much slower than machine work.  However, as this will be for my very dear husband, it is an acceptable deviation from my plan.  It will make a nice Christmas present for him and something to hang in his room. 
Today is the last day to get your free pattern. Go to my web site (www.arkangelcreations.org), choose your pattern and e mail me with the code and answer to the question  in the Jan. 03 'A Thank You Gift' blog.  The two pattern exceptions are Tranquility and My Way.
Our bush is really filling up with snow.  I started to take Heidi for a walk yesterday but, even following my tracks was to much for her.  Our road is plowed today so we will try again.  Perhaps I can get her some little snowshoes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


On the off chance that you might be a person who doesn't like winter, I thought you might like to see a photo of something green.  This was taken in the bush that is to south of our house.  We have left those five acres entirely natural other than to remove dead trees. The view outside today is completely opposite of this photo.  We are getting snow and the sun is no where to be seen.  I am baking but will still go out later.  It might be for just a short walk but I enjoy the crisp air.  Today is my husband's birthday.  I got up early and made him breakfast and he will be getting his favourite desert; apple crisp, for supper.  I am also making bread, sausage patties (5 dozen), a casserole and some teething biscuits for our pastor's son.  Thursday seems to have turned in to baking day so now my week almost has a full schedule: Monday quilting, Thursday baking and Friday work.  I usually do appointments and shopping on Wednesday but that is infrequent. Of course, I do quilt every day. No matter what else I might have been doing, there is always time for quilting. Yesterday, I completed a small wall hanging for my husband.  I will take a photo to show you tomorrow.
If you are going out, take care.  We have snow squall warnings for much of our area and that makes it tricky driving.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Room With a View

I really like the light in this photo.  I took it from the mudroom steps in the late afternoon.  This is our view from the dining room window.  All the time my husband and I are eating, we are looking out the window at the scenery.  The day before yesterday, we saw a doe with her fawn.
Each room gives us a different view.  My quilt room looks over the back of the property, the living room faces the bush side as well as the driveway.
This morning we woke to an additional 10 inches of snow.  The driveway has been plowed so we can get out but there isn't any reason.  My husband is busy grinding mean and I will turn it into sausage patties later today.  In the meantime, I am doing a mini organization in the quilt room.  As I am lessening my fabric stash, I have more room to put books etc.   I know this won't last long.  I am sure new fabric will soon start filling the shelves; especially after I come back from a quilt retreat in April where visiting quilt stores is on the agenda.
The free foundation pieced block is on my web site now.  It is a great pattern for using up scraps.
Just two more days to take advantage of my free pattern offer. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Favourite Model

Heidi loves sitting in front of the fire.  She will lay there until she is panting with the heat and we have to call her away from the stove.  I have tried a number of times to take a photo of her her but it never turns out because she tends to blend in the background.  I finally had her lay on a blanket and that has provided enough contrast. 
My Favourite  Model
I immediately removed it after the photo was taken, by the way.  Photo op is one thing, homeless is another.
We are getting another snowfall.  It is so nice to have the option of staying indoors or, at least, home,  on such days.  I have always enjoyed winter but, I must confess, that it is even nicer now that we are retired.
I am still working on using up my scraps.  I have got a lot of them organized and thought I was making progress.  Then I remembered the tote that is under my quilt frame.  Alas, it is full.  A lot of it is strips that I have cut previously but a lot more is just bits and pieces that have been tossed in there.  Do you suppose a quilter is ever scrap free?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Becoming a Follower and More

I had a query as to how a person becomes a follower/member of this blog.  On the right hand side of the page is a: Join This Site button.  Just click it and follow the instructions. I appreciate people signing up as it is encouraging to see the numbers rise.  I have also added a button so you can have the blog sent to your email address.
White Dog in Snow
As you can see by the photo, we are settling into winter here in the backwoods. It snowed all day yesterday and through the night. My computer weather notice had the red warning sign on it this morning.  When I clicked on it, it told me that winter had returned to Ontario.  Well, goodness me, what a surprise.  Here it is January in Canada and we are getting winter!
I think this photo of Heidi is really funny.  She always seems so white until she gets outside and the contrast between her white and the snow's white is obvious.  I still like to put a coat on her when we go for a walk in case she gets away.  A flash of colour is much easier to see.  A night, she gets a flashing red light hooked to her collar when she goes out.  Even though she is on her chain, I like to be able to tell where she is in case something thinks she is prey.
Do you like batiks?  Most quilters love them.  Flare fabrics (www.flarefabrics.ca) is having a sale and, if you live in Canada, there isn't any shipping charge.  They are getting some batik flannels in soon.  I like flannel but don't like how it frays.  Perhaps the batik would be better.  I will have to try some and see.
Hope you all have a great weekend and, if you live in Ontario, watch our for winter!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Little Letters

We are getting a bit of snow this morning.  The flakes are tiny, barely visible but I think we are going to get enough that we will have to get the driveway ploughed again.  It is amazing how something so tiny can, after a while, add up to so much. It is rather like calories, isn't it?  An extra bit of something here and there and the next thing you know, our clothes are too tight.
If I took that a step further, you can often see the same result in relationships.  It is the tiny niggly actions that result in hurt feelings and loss of affection.  I have learnt over time that it is not so much what I say but how I say it.  Think of the little 3 letter word 'yah' and how many ways it can be pronounced and each one gives a different meaning.
This isn't what I had intended to talk about this morning but the one thought led to another which resulted in something larger-just like those snowflakes.
I am going to be adding a free pattern to my web page shortly.  It is a paper pieced one which I have been making.  I discovered, quite accidentally, that one of the sections when joined next to three other blocks makes a pattern.  I will tell you which one that is once the pattern is posted so you can choose your fabric accordingly.
You only have just over a week to take advantage of my free pattern offer in honour of passing 50 blog followers.  Just go to my web and chose the pattern you want, e mail me giving the correct code and answer to my question and I will send you your choice.  For complete information, check out the Jan. 03 blog-A Thank You Gift.
I am looking forward to going out snowshoeing this afternoon with my husband and wee dog.  Heidi will just be on her little feet!  Roger has been working on getting a trail packed down for us.  We enjoyed snowshoeing so much last year and it is such good exercise. It is extra special going through our bush and seeing the tracks of the various animals.  A friend was telling me this morning that she and her husband saw the trail of an otter when they were out on their property.
Whatever you are doing today, I hope you have a great one,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I probably shouldn't be trying to write anything today as my brain is mush but I need to get caught up. Yesterday we were in Huntsville as I had to go to the hospital for one of those in and out procedures, then we met friends for lunch.  My husband had already bought the groceries we needed so were able to get home in good time.  I hadn't slept the night before so I went to bed early. Today, I have a massive headache.  I think it is because I didn't drink enough water after not being able to have any for 12 hours.
I can't remember if I have said this before (see reference to brain) but I found a great web site (quiltville.com) that has some nice scrappie patterns on it.  I have saved the ones I would like to make, labelled baggies with the name of the pattern and the fabric sizes i.e. 3.5 X 6.5 and am now cutting my scraps and smaller bits of fabric and putting them in the appropriate bags.
I find that I am more motivated to do this than just cutting fabric without any set purpose.  I have included some of my own patterns with this project so if I have extra fabric, I may sell them as a kit.
It is quiet in the forest today.  There is enough snow on the ground to deaden most sounds and no one has chain saws or snow machines running.  I don't even hear a dog baking and that includes our own.
I will be going outside for some fresh air later so that should help clear my head!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Work Days

I have managed to keep my one day a week scheduled work day even through the holidays.  I have settled on Friday as my chosen day simply because there is a program on the radio that I really enjoy.  Today, I have almost completed writing the instructions for a pattern that my web mistress has designed.  After lunch, I am going to work on my book.
It may seem odd to set aside this one specific day when I am retired and, theoretically, should have lots of time to accomplish what needs to be done.  I have and I do but I also need a deadline or a goal to keep my nose to the metaphorical grindstone.  I have started doing jigsaws on line and I can waste a lot of time on them.  Then, of course, there is my e mails, gazing out the window, walking the dog, housework, quilt group meetings and church.  It doesn't take long for the week to go by without having accomplished much.
Most of the work that I need to get done involves the computer although if I am working on a pattern or making a quilt for someone, I do get to go to the sewing machine.  However, I tend to do those things through the rest of the week.
I think most people work better with a schedule.  My husband does the chickens in the morning as well as getting in wood for the stove.  Chopping wood can be done then also but usually is accomplished in the afternoon.  He calls it 'pacing' himself.  Right now, he is chopping so the sound of the ax is drifting through my window.  It is a typical country sound and it goes nicely with the snow clad trees and light flickering from the wood stove.  All sounds and sights that mean home and comfort.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Moments to Fill

I have added a link  that I hope you will be able to access.  It is a lovely video.
There is always something to do to fill in moments of time, isn't there?  My computer has been very slow send e mails and performing downloads today for some reason so I have been tracing leaves on a piece of fabric while waiting.  I need 22 of them of them to applique.  They are only about an inch and a half long so each one is a bit fiddly. 
I have also been gathering up fabric for a new quilt.  It is a scrappy and takes 21 different fabrics.  It seems as though I am on a twenties kick this week.  I just made bread but only six loaves.  Couldn't imagine doing twenty of them.
I am still using up old fabric and am trying to keep to that section of my stash pile.  Of course, by the time I have all that used up my new stash section will be old.  Will it ever end.  I hope not. 
My husband has gone into the village to pick up the mail and do a few odds and ends.  His truck didn't start so he had to take the car.  When we bought it, I enquired about a block heater but was told I didn't need it as the car was good for 25 below (another twenty).  So far, he has been right.  We have had a few days when it has been colder and there wasn't a problem.  Remember when our cars where plugged in all winter?
One of the projects I need to do this year is a wedding quilt for my nephew who is getting married in December.  I have been thinking of patterns but still haven't decided on one.  I have three family members getting married this year-all in England!  That should keep me in the quilt room.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bored Chickens!!

We took our tree down today and did some general tidying up.  I am trying to resist the impulse to start sorting something. The urge to do a clear out of unnecessary stuff seems to come with the new year but I don't have time.  I have a magazine article to finish and a pattern to complete for my web mistress.  She made a lovely quilt for her parents and I am writing up the pattern so she can sell it.
Speaking of patterns: in case you missed it yesterday, I am offering you your choice of free patterns from my web site.  Details are on yesterday's posting.  This is in honour of passing the 50 mark in followers.

It is a bit dreary today but definitely warmer.  Yesterday when I was in the village picking up the mail,  I went to the grocery store and bought some half price veggies for the chickens.  Apparently they get bored in the winter as they are cooped up (pardon the pun) and don't have anything to do.  The magazine we read suggested buying some small cabbage for them to peck at.  We only had huge ones at the store so I figured some yellow beans would keep them interested for a bit. The things you learn! Perhaps I could teach them to do the ironing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Thank You Gift

Our temperature dropped to minus twenty five today but the sun is shining and, as I have said so many time, everything is beautiful.
In honour of our fiftieth  'follower' I would like to offer you a thank you gift. (We have 51 today). Your support has made this blog more successful than I ever thought possible.
I am offering you a free pattern of your choice from my web page: www.arkangelcreations.org  The only two that cannot be selected are My Way and Tranquility.
Choose the pattern you want, send me an e mail to arkangelcreations@gmail.com giving the name of the pattern, this code; AA050 and, just to make it interesting, tell me how many chickens we currently have.
I will send you your pattern by e mail.
This offer ends on January 20th and is open to all readers of this blog.