Friday, October 26, 2012

Easy Half Square Triangles

I am working on a new quilt with a lot of half square triangle.  One of my favourite methods of making these blocks is to do four at once.  the following photos are self explanatory.  I started with two squares of 5 1/2" fabric, placed right sides together and sewn.

Sew 1/4" around perimeter

Cut diagonally

Cut diagonally in other direction

Open and press. 3 1/2" squares.

Hope you find this method helpful.  It is cool today.  My husband is working on the walls, I'm quilting, the wood stove is warming the house and adding cheer.  Our Heidi is laying on the hearth and the chickens are outside doing chicken things.  All is right with the world,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good News

I have taken advantage of the lovely weather today and hung my laundry outside.  I don't usually wash the clothes until Saturday when it is reduced hydro rates but I just couldn't resist.  I reasoned that using just the washer with cold water would, at peak rate, use less hydro than both washer and dryer at low rate.  The things we have to think about now.  In any case, I have clothes-and the fabric I got yesterday, on the line.
We have had good news today.  The building inspector has been, given his approval and left.  We can now finish the walls and ceiling and start moving in some of the stuff.  There has to be a final inspection once those last bits have been finished.  It does tend to go on and on but that results in a  Christmas like feeling each time a step is completed.
Speaking of Christmas, you do realize we only have 2 months until the big day, don't you? I haven't really thought much about gifts as we won't be here but I guess I better start planning a few items.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Failed Recipe

How many panels do you have? No idea.  What about left over blocks?  Any idea how many you have stored in bags, tucked in a drawer or taking up space on your cutting table.  I couldn't answer either of those questions because they, like an embarrassing incidence from my past, are something I'd rather not think about.
However, the members of an on line group I help moderate, have been talking about uses for these panels we bought with such enthusiasm and then forgot. The suggestions ranged from totes to pillowcases, aprons to cushions.  All great ideas and ones I am going to put to use-eventually. 
When I get into my new studio, I will have to sort out all the panels and put them in a separate container.  If I also label it and include some ideas, perhaps, hopefully, I will use them.  I know I have some crib panels which are always great to have on hand.  I also have an advent panel and some smaller ones of sewing scenes, animals, and, I think, some cartoon characters.
My maple leaf quilt top is finally almost finished.  I thought I would get it completed at quilt group yesterday but, of course, I left some of the fabric at home.
I have been baking today.  I tried a new recipe for pumpkin cookies but I don't like it.  For some reason, the batter was sticky and the cookies taste the same way.  My molasses cookies and the bread turned out alright though.
We have started letting one flock of chickens roam free.  Their original owner only contained them at night so they are used to being out and come wandering back when it gets dark.  It is an interesting sight seeming them scratching around in the leaves and grass.  One of them found a juicy morsel yesterday and the rest decided she should share.  A lot of flying feathers and squawking resulted in nothing.  Reminded me of some people.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Birds and Pumpkins

We have had a lot of birds around the house the past couple of days.  There are the usual chickadees and sparrows but also blue jays and woodpeckers.  It is almost as though something was driving them from deeper in the bush to the perimeter. 
Yesterday,  when I took Heidi for a walk, a flock of robins flew past.  It seems as though they are heading south later each year.  We also saw a couple of partridge which will make my husband happy as he though they might have moved onto another area.
This morning as we were sitting by one of the south facing windows in the new room, having our coffee and watching the wildlife, we commented again on how fortunate we were to live in such surroundings.  It is such a peaceful place and often the only sound outside is the singing of birds.  Of course, at the moment, we do get the noise from our own construction project as well as from one of our neighbours.  Another neighbour is an entertainer and we occassionally are treated to her music courtesy of outside speakers. Usually, however, it is turned down to a level where it doesn't drift our way. The country isn't as quiet as most city dwellers think it is but it is vastly less noisy than an urban area.
We have finished our building until the inspector comes so today we were cutting up and cooking pumpkins.  We still have a couple of large ones and three small pie types left but our hands are sore and the cook pots are full.  Once everything is cooked and cooled, I will puree and freeze where it will be ready for soup, muffins and bread.  I may make another batch of pumpkin butter as well.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Time Needed

Today, my husband is picking up our turkeys from the butcher and I have to make room in the freezer.  We are going to cut most of them in half as, with just the two of us, a whole is too big.  We will probably have one for this Sunday's dinner.
I am working on my column for the On Line Quilt Pattern magazine and it is hard going.  My mind is on pumpkins that need cutting up and cooking, tile to the laid the the sun room part of the addition and the sunshine outside that is enticing me to go for a walk.
I think I will give in to the latter need after lunch.  We haven't been getting many days without rain recently so I should take advantage of the day.
I also have the corner blocks to finish on a quilt top so I can send it to a friend to be quilted.  This is the first time I haven't done that step myself but I want the result to be extra special and I really don't have time with everything else that needs doing.  I also want to get my scrappy heart quilt in the frame so I can get it done for the spare bedroom. 
I wonder how many hours in a day a person would need to do everything on the mental to do list.  The number would likely keep changing because, just as nature rushes in to fill a vacuum, so our projects grow to overflow the time available.
I better get back to the article if I am going to get it finished in time for lunch.  Enjoy your day.  If there are any flowers left in your garden, take time to smell them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fabric and Flooring

We got the floor and the support post finished in the addition today. Now I can start moving in some totes that have been taking up so much space in my quilt room  Another couple of weeks and I should be able to do a complete move; depending on the building inspectors report.
I have been putting together an order for Connecting threads.  If you need batting, they have really good prices: Hobbs 80/20 queen size for 20.00.  I buy a lot of my fabric from them as well.  If you live in the U.S. you get free shipping with orders over 50.00 and it is only 8.00 for the rest of us.
Usually, a few of the ladies in our quilt group share an order and the shipping price.
If you would like to check them out, the web page is:
I started making a dress last night.  If it turns out alright, I will use the same pattern to make my outfit for my nephew's wedding.  It is nice to be able to sew.  the fabric for this dress cost me $15.00!
Hunting season started in our area and we hear gun fire occasionally.  We have to remember to wear bright clothing if we go for a walk in the bush although no one should be that close.  However, what people should do and what they do do are often quite different.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Steep Learning Curve.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  We are having a non rainy day which, apparently, will be the only one for the week.  My husband is outside getting pre winter things done: moving a tree, making sure the mudroom roof doesn't leak etc.
I was thinking this morning about how many things he has had to learn since we moved here from the city.  Using both a chain and table saw, caring for chickens, building sheds, additions and steps, felling trees as well as knowing which are the best ones for firewood.  And, of course, the making of maple syrup. He has done well and, more importantly, is really enjoying it.
My work has remained essentially the same: cook, clean repeat.  Most of my adjustments has come from the distance of amenities.  Popping across the road for purchases has changed to a drive of at least 10 kilometers and, usually, quite a bit more.  Mail delivery and garbage pick up are a perk of the past but the lack of really isn't a hardship.
I am glad that even though we are well into the last half of our life that we are still healthy and flexible enough to enjoy the change.
I was expecting some friends coming for a visit this weekend but plans have changed.  Disappointing but there is, as Scarlett said, always tomorrow. I imagine we will now use the time to get the addition ready for final inspection and then, hallelujah, I can start moving.
A Moment's Rest

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Home for the Backwoods Quilter

My New Studio
 As you can see, the exterior of the addition is almost done.  the rest of the work; exterior trim, skirting, will probably wait until the spring.  I think it looks lovely.  Certainly a perfect home for the Backwoods Quilter.  I can't wait to start moving my things in.  That will happen at the same time as my husband takes over my old studio.
His former room will become the guest room and I am equally looking forward to decorating that for future company.
The second photo shows part of the interior.  Still lots to be done there.  We hope to be able to pick up the flooring tomorrow.  The wood bit you can see on the ceiling is where a support post is going.  We need to have two because of the snow load.  Roger is going to square them off with cedar planks.   Won't that smell wonderful?
The bottom picture, of course, has nothing to do with quilting but it has been a while since I posted a picture of Heidi.  She was patiently waiting for a chipmunk to show up so she could chase it.  That is
Inside-Still Lots to be Done
 her self imposed job: chipmunk hunter.
I Can't Chop Wood, I'm Too Little

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Not a Lazy Day.

If I wasn't so busy, this would be a lazy day.  It has been raining in a steady drizzle and the sky is a discouraging grey.  It is the kind of weather when you want to grab a book or some knitting and sit in your favourite chair while the wood stove sends its glow of warmth and colour.  did you know that knitting lowers your heart rate?  Apparently, the repetative movement is so soothing that blood pressure drops a few points.  I read somewhere that petting a cat and making it purr can have the same result, however, in this case, it was the purring not the petting that made the difference.
I am not sure what our wee Heidi would make of this.  Probably that just looking at her being cute is healthy and I believe she is right.
I have been working away on neck scarves for boy scouts.  A friend of mine is one of the leaders and whenever they get new members, I make their scarves.  Not a hard job but usually something that has to be done quickly.
I had been finishing the last blocks for a quilt top but have had to put it away until this job gets done.  That may be sooner than I planned as I am running out of red bias tape.  Drat.  Another trip to Huntsville.  We are waiting to hear from the hardware store as they are cutting some linoleum for us.  If it is ready tomorrow, then we can combine trips.
I have also had a quilt pattern buzzing around in my head that I would like to get on paper.  That too will have to wait.  Busy, busy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Left Over Turkey

We ordered the flooring for my quilt room today and picked up some tile for the ceiling.  We got this at a recycle place so it saved us a lot of money.

Yesterday, a follower asked me if I had a recipe for left over turkey and, after sending her one, I thought I would share it with everyone.

You can use any leftover, cooked poultry and there aren't any measurements.
Place cut up, cooked turkey in a casserole dish, add a bag (or left over) of frozen vegtables.  I use the ones with smaller pieces containing peas, carrots, corn etc.
Add a can of cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup.  Stir together.
Top with biscuits or pastry.  You could also use mashed turnip, potatoes or yams (sweet potatoes) as a topping. 
If using turnip etc.  toss some bread crumbs with a bit of garlic powder and basil and sprinkle over topping.
Bake at 350 until everything is hot and the crust is brown.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A New Quilt Book

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Here in Canada, we were celebrating Thanksgiving and most people gathered with their family and/or friends and had roast turkey.  Ever the rebels, my husband and I stayed home, worked on the addition and had a casserole-it did have turkey in it and it was home made but not quite the same.  We did, however, finish the outside of the room. I am taking a day off today and getting inside stuff done.  I have a quilt I have to get finished and neck scarves to make for the local scout group. 
With the definate change in season comes a change in clothing and I've put away my summer wear and got our the winter things.  If the weather warms up again, it won't be a problem as I always keep a couple of outfits to wear in the house if it gets too hot.
Of course, once Thanksgiving passes, thoughts start turning toward Christmas.  I won't have much to do this year as we will be in England celebrating a wedding.  It will nice to spend the day with my family before flying home on the 26th. 
If you would like to buy yourself a little quilty gift this year, my book will be ready.  It will be a downloadable and can be bought through paypal.  There will be more details later but I can tell you that there will be at least 10 patterns, many of them scrappy, plus some stories of our move and life here in the backwoods. The cost will be $25.00 with a presale special.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin and Fabric

Loons and Cattails Fabric
This is some of the fabric I bought yesterday.  I really like the colours and the design.  I am not a big fan of patterned batik but this is so subtle that it will blend wonderfully.
I am looking forward to trying these in my vintage Tiles applique but it will probably have to wait for a bit as we continue to work away on the addition.  We have one of the ends done now.  Once the other is finished we can relax a bit.
I am also cooking up some pumpkin to make my curried pumpkin soup to serve tomorrow.
My thoughts will be in England tomorrow as one of my neices is getting married.  She is marrying a very nice man who she has known for a number of years.  I hope they will be as happy as my husband and I.
Happy thanksgiving to all my Canadian followers.  We truly do have much for which to be thankful.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Fabric

We took a day off today, did some shopping,  met friends and had lunch together and bought fabric.  You didn't think I would go shopping and NOT buy fabric did you?  I went to the Bracebridge quilt store and picked up the 6 fat quarters that I had asked them to save for me.  These are the Canadian designed batik line, Loons and Cattails and they are lovely.  Unfortunately for everyone else, I got the last of it until the new shipment comes in in about a month.  They were specially designed and ordered for the area shop hop and will be on the general market in March. 
I will try and scan the fabric for you to see.  It really is striking.  Also picked up at FQ of pastel batik for my Vintage Tiles applique quilt as well as something for the lady who popped in and took our Heidi for a walk while we were away.
Don't tell our wee one, but it was nice to be able to shop as long as we wanted and to go into No Dogs Allowed stores together.  She did get a nice treat when we got home.
The leaves are really starting to fall now and I think there are almost as many on the ground as on the branches.  Christmas ads are starting to sneak their way onto the airwaves as the end of the year creeps closer.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the day in which I am living.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Rustic Look

One side nearly done

This is the long side of the addition and, as you can see, it is approaching doneness.  I really like the rustic look and opted for leaving the knots and non straight edges.  Some of the planks even have a bit of bark on them. 
I had a bit of a mishap while getting one of the planks and tripped over a board.  I scrapped my right leg pretty badly but, brave soul that I am, after applying some ointment and a bandage, I soldiered on.  It is almost lunch time so I am taking a bit of a break while dear husband adds the trim to the roof edge.  thank goodness for leftovers because that is what our meals have consisted of this week.
We are taking the day off tomorrow while we check out the second hand places for flooring.  More photos to come

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Indian Summer?

I was listening to a blue jay while getting lunch today and it reminded me of the poem, Indian summer by William Campbell.  It is one that I often quote as it seems to describe so well the area in which I live.

"Indian Summer"

Along the line of smoky hills

The crimson forest stands,

And all the day the blue-jay calls

Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans,

With all his glory spread;

And all the sumachs on the hills

Have turned their green to red.

Now, by great marshes wrapt in mist,

Or past some river's mouth,

Throughout the long still autumn day

Wild birds are flying south.
I don't think that we are experiencing Indian Summer just yet but the sun is shining through the maple leaves and the temperature is a lovely 15 degrees.  I seem to be in a soup making mood lately and this morning I made a kettle full of cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and rice with lots of spices.  It is a Weight Watcher's recipe so it should be slimming as well as good.
My husband has been out all morning helping a friend but, when he returns, we will be working on the addition.  We started putting the siding on yesterday and we need to get that done before winter arrives.
Right now, I am going to have a cup of tea and perhaps read a few pages of a book while I wait for him to return.