Thursday, March 29, 2012

Frame Up

I have been busy doing non-quilty things this morning.  My follow up doctors appointment has been changed to this Friday so I had to zip in and get my blood work done today.  Since then I have been on the computer doing on some municipal stuff.  I think I mentioned that I have been working on getting an association started for the businesses in this area and it does look like it is happening.  I have been doing follow up e mails, looking at putting together a web site and other bits and pieces. It is almost lunch time now so after I have eaten, I will get back at the quilt that is on the frame.
I am making good progress on it and only have a couple more rows to do plus the outside border.  I am thinking of doing the border in a different pattern and thread colour although I am a little nervous about that decision.  The stitching has been going so well-consistent stitch lengths, no skipped stitches, that I am wondering if I should just stick with what I am doing.
Long arm quilting (short arm in my case) takes a lot of practice to get proficient.  I only have the basic gadgets, speed control and laser so have to rely on my skill and that is iffy at best.  However, there is a lot of satisfaction when it comes together. 
We had a very light sprinkling of snow this morning.  I have scattered some seeds around for the birds as they have been searching the ground for nibbly bits.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Free Bag pattern

I notice that a few more people have signed up as followers.  Welcome.  You might wish to check some of the previous blogs as they contain  free patterns.  I am, eventually, going to get them put into one area for easier access.
I also received an e mail from one of my dearest friends this morning.  Carol has been off line for a bit due to computer problems and, while I could always pick up the phone to call her, I prefer the anytime convenience of e mail. As my voice is still raspy from the operation-or whatever is causing it, it is a bit difficult for me to talk on the phone.  It seems to take more energy for some reason.
This photo, which I have shown before, is a free pattern that is on my web page (  You could make the bag pattern without the block if you wish and it is easy to resize.  Perhaps a small one for the grandchildren to use on an Easter egg hunt.
We are filtering our maple syrup this morning before putting it in jars.  It is a s-l-o-w process.  I don't think there is a quicker way to do it so we just have to wait.  That was the royal we as my husband is doing this step.  My job is the canning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Natural Phenomenon

Natures Oddities
My husband is working on next year's wood supply and, when he cut open a log, he found this inside.  The center of the tree had rotted and these little seedlings had taken root and grown.  We are not sure what they are so we are going to save this piece of wood and see what happens.  Right now they look a bit like a fern.  I am guessing the seeds came from a bird, squirrel or perhaps a chipmunk.  I will let you know what results.
When I was going to quilt group yesterday, I came across another display of nature.  Eighteen turkey hens were crossing the road-single file, with a tom following.  The male had his tail feathers in full display showing off to any one who might have been interested; including me.  Once they had safely cleared the road, I continued on my way.
I imagine the birds are a bit confused by the warm weather.  I don't think they usually start the mating process this early but they are this year.  There were a pair of partridge doing their courtship dance on my sister's property on the weekend and the smaller birds are showing off their vocal skills.  I cut the dogs hair last week and spread the clippings around so they can be added to a nest.  They will make a cosy bed for some little fledglings.
In the quilting department; I am working on a quilt that will be nice for a boy.  I have it in the frame and four rows finished.  I have another waiting to get done as soon as this one is completed.  It is nice to feel inspired again.  I just didn't feel like quilting-other than the applique for the past few weeks.
It is a bit cooler today but I am going to plant some carrots and potatoes this afternoon and get the smaller two gardens ready for the more delicate plants.  It would be wonderful to get all this done before blackfly season.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lots of Fabric

Ever wonder what almost 20 meters of fabric would look like?  Here it is stretched out on my clothes line.  We had a bit of rain yesterday after I hung it out which, combined with a bit of a breeze, removed all the wrinkles.  It is now folded and stored, waiting to be cut for the backs of all my tops.
It is a bit dreary today with a light drizzle.  It isn't enough to discourage anyone from going out but it should help keep down the dust.
I got another quilt onto my frame last night and have been working on it.  I am doing free motion around the center pattern and then will shadow quilt that part.  This quilt is made from the fabric mys sister gave me for my birthday last April so I am glad that it will be done before the year is up.  I will post a photo when it is done.
We are just getting ready to go to the village funeral home.  The mother of a friend died on Wednesday so we will go and pay our respects.  The friend is a distant relative of my husband-everyone here is related to someone with the exception of me. 
Hope you aren't being affected by the latest labour problems with Air Canada.  I don't know why the management of that company isn't dong a better job of getting information to their customers.  It seems to be a real mess. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fabric Sales

I am washing fabric.  We went to Huntsville today to do a little 'before the check' shopping and because Fabricland was holding a half price sale.  I needed some backing fabric so this was a good opportunity to get some.  There was a discount table with material for $3.00 which meant I would be paying $1.50; a deal far too good to pass.  I bought the rest of one bolt-11 meters, and 6 meters of another.  If I had had more money, I would have got a lot more but this will finish up two of the tops.  I also have fabric coming from an on line store which will take care of a third. All this should keep me busy for a while.
I have often wondered why they don't hold these sale at the end of the month when most government and pension cheques arrive.  I would have spent twice as much and I am sure they are others who would do the same.
We ran into a brief rain shower on the way home and watched the car thermometer as it dropped 4 degrees in just a couple of minutes.  It is back up again now and has added a couple more.  I think I will hang my fabric out on the line to dry. Eleven meters strung out along the line should make for an interesting sight!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest Blogger

I have just finished doing some spring cleaning: the refrigerator and wood stove.  Outside, the sound of my husband getting the motorcycle ready for the season is another reminder of the unseasonably warm weather.  When he came in for his tea, he said that he wanted to get the work done before it gets to hot.  In March?!
If you are a subscriber to the Quilt Gallery, you will notice that I am the guest blogger for this month.  If you aren't, here is the link:
I am starting to think about what I am going to be taking to the quilt retreat.  It is less than a month away so if I am going to work on a quilt, I better decide what it will be.  I am mainly focusing on my hand applique but as I don't know what type of chairs will be in the room, I want to have an alternate project.  When I am appliqueing, I like to have my feet on a stool.  As soon as I wrote that, I had an aha! moment.  I have a little collapsible stool that would be perfect.  I think I will add that to my 'take to retreat' list.
I am now going to go out and fill the bird feeders.  I was debating putting out the hummingbird feeder but it has to be too early to that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deer Down

I have a bird feeder just outside my studio window and it has had a constant stream of chickadee visitors this past week.  My husband saw a robin on Sunday and the snow is all but gone from the bush.  It happened so quickly.  There was a couple of feet piled on my front garden and it was gone in less than three days and there are shoots standing 2 to 3 inches high in its place. I even hung some of my laundry out on Saturday.

Yesterday, I went to quilt group although I came back early to let the dog out as my husband was boiling sap and hadn't been able to get to the house.  After I changed my clothes, I made him a cup to tea and while we were talking, a herd of deer ran toward the pond.  Right after the the last one leaped down the embankment, we heard a splash.  The small one had tried to go across the pond instead of using the bridge.  We could hear it splashing so I angled over to where I could see  its path through the ice.  Fortunately, despite the depth and temperature of the water, it did make it to the other side.  There wasn't much we could have done to save it so we were thankful that an attempt wasn't necessary.
I am starting to feel like quilting again so am going to be adding a couple of border strips to finish a top and then I have a couple of small projects to do.  I am gradually, a bit at a time, getting my energy back but still have to limit myself. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


I expected to wake up this morning to see that our snow had left.  We had quite a lot of rain last night.  I am not sure how long it lasted but the volume was enough to, I thought, wash away the last foot of white that is still throughout the bush.  It did lessen by a few inches but there is still quite a bit remaining. And, of course, it is going to probably be June before the banks made by the snowplow leave.
My husband is boiling down some of the sap that he has gathered.  He doesn't have very much yet but, as the weather is supposed to stay warm for a bit, it has to be cooked. If not, it will go sour.
I have made three trips back to the cook sight already.  the first to take a thermos of tea and an apple. the second trip was to deliver lunch and the most recent involved his book, a granola bar and the gathering of eggs.  I have another to do in an hour for a final thermos of tea.
Our chickens have discovered that spring is on its way and they have come outside.  At first, it was just the big red ones who dared a little adventure but they were soon joined by the two little white biddies.
As soon as it is warm enough to clean the coop and do a bit of renovation work, we are getting 4 more hens and a rooster.  We hope to have a few fluffy bundles to raise. They should be ready to start producing by the time the initial  five hens  stop laying, go through their moult, lay a bit more and then quit completely.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Safe Place

Keeping Watch
We have had a herd of deer bedding close to the house for over a week.  There are about half a dozen of them and they gather on a little knoll near the chicken coop.  There are probably wolves roaming around at night and they feel more protected here plus there is less snow and access to the driveway so they have a better chance of escape.  It is interesting that they seek security by getting closer to one of their predators.  I am convinced they know when it is hunting season and realize they are in no danger from us.
Although the pond is still frozen, we have had a couple of ducks land on its edge.  Perhaps they are looking for a nesting spot and getting a jump on the other waterfowl. We are watching for the return of our blue heron as well as hoping our resident beaver is still that-in residence.
We had some lightening last night but no thunder and thunderstorms are predicted for today.  Right now, however, the sun is shining brightly, my husband is cutting wood and the dog is sitting on my sewing table watching the activity.  I still don't have enough energy to do much and am getting a bit stir crazy. Poor Heidi is also missing her walks.  I hope that I will be able to start short ones again next week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Twitterpated Chipmunks

It is a grey day here in the backwoods but the little creatures are having fun.  The tiny chipmunks and red squirrels are darting everywhere from tree to woodpile, newly uncovered rock to the clothesline stoop.  Our dog Heidi, our protector of all things ferious, is on constant guard in case own tries to charge the house.
The tree trunks have turned a lighter grey as part of their preparations for spring and there is very little contrast between them and the sky.  The only bit of colour that I can see while sitting here at my computer is a yellow plastic but that is near the wood pile.
We have reached plus 5 this morning with warmer temperatures to come (here is your weather report, Grace).  In fact, it is predicted to go up to 18 before next weekend! 
I am wavering between wanting the warmer weather to arrive so it dries up the mud and dreading it because it heralds the start of the bug season.
There was a discussion on a chat group recently on what constitutes a scrap quilt.  One lady said she thought that the title belonged to projects that are made with what you have on hand and, with the exception of lights and darks, there wasn't much colour planning.  I agree with her.  I think a quilt can have a scrappy 'look' if  you specifically purchase the fabric but it isn't a true scrappy.  What do you think?  Is this another area where the quilt police have begun to make their presence known?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Thank you for your good wishes and prayers following my surgery.  You learn so much about yourself when you go through these procedures.  I had the right side of my thyroid removed.  I didn't know there were two and one can do the job of both-nice of God to give us a spare. I didn't know about all the other things that were around the thyroid and how I could be affected if they were damaged during surgery.
Everything has gone well.  I am recovering nicely apart from no energy and usual slow recovery from anesthesia and pain killers. 
I really haven't felt like quilting or doing much else except sleep or stare into space until this morning.  My husband took me into the village yesterday while he was going for the mail and I popped in to see our quilt group.  That was my big excitement for the day but I felt that I had put in a 12 hour work shift.  That step, small as it was, encouraged me to think about doing the binding on a small quilt the next day.  Got ready to do that this morning and the hydro went out.  So, I had another couple of hours of doing nothing.
Hope everyone is enjoying their March break.  With the unseasonable warmth,  some people are able to get out golfing.  I don't think I will put my winter clothing away yet but it is nice to do without a layer or two.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Last Storm?

The tornadoes that created such havoc in the United States swept through our area with high winds and snow.  The video that I have included shows our 80 foot trees behaving like a tiny sapling.  Some of the areas around us had power outages and our nephew's barn was lifted from its base but we got through without problem.  I did fill up some containers with water just in case but it wasn't needed.  Today, the sun is shining brightly and the only reminder of the storm is the snow which is still packed onto the tree trunks.  Tomorrow it is going to be plus nine.  I may not be posting for a day or so as I go for my surgery tomorrow.  I am just in and out again but may not feel up to writing until the anesthesia fully wears off.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Blank Mind.

I really don't have anything much to share with you today.  When I wrote a weekly column for a newspaper in Orillia and this happened, I used to write about having nothing to say!  Not a trick you can do very often but it is rather fun.  Instead of submitting you to reading that, I would like to let you know how much I appreciate you.
I read a saying once that said "You aren't a leader if no-one is following.  You are merely going for a walk."  I feel that if no-one is reading what I write then I cannot call myself a writer.  I am only a diarist (not sure if that is a word), someone that puts down words for their own pleasure or purpose.
Knowing that you are reading my words makes me look for at least one interesting thing in my day.  Finding that topic also helps me to realize that my life is pretty good.  Therefore, you are helping me appreciate my life which, in turn, keeps me healthy and happy.
I try to use correct grammar (without sounding too stiff) and spelling when I write and that also has a side benefit for me.  I write for a few publications and the ability to write well is similar to physically flexible; if you don't use the muscles they atrophy.  If a writer doesn't continually write, the ability to do so withers.
I would also like to thank those of you who take the time to comment.  Your words are often the fuel I need to keep going. 
And so, dear readers, I am sending you all a virtual hug along with my appreciation.  I am so glad I am not just walking alone.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Funky

Here is my latest Funky Chicken from block of the month.  I just printed the March block this morning.  These make a nice break from working on the Baltimore Album blocks that I am appliqueing.  I am enjoying just picking out crazy fabrics for the chickens and making them as funky as a "well into her 60's" person can.    Of course, I think my generation invented 'funky' along with many other things that make life interesting!  Where would we have been without rock and roll, poodle, mini, or maxi skirts, afro and beehive hair dos or the Volkswagen beetle?
Would you like to go to a quilt show and learn from acclaimed teachers, see the latest innovations and fabrics without cost or leaving your home?  Here is the link to register.  The expo starts Mar. 7th and finishes on the 10th.  I go for my surgery on the 7th but I hope to still be able to check things out when I get home later in the day-if I am not too zonked out from the anesthesia.  If you register, let me know.  Perhaps we can all meet for lunch on one of the days.