Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Link to Help Flood Victims

Many quilters are looking for ways to help those affected by the floods in Alberta.  The link above was sent to me.  It will take you to a blog where the project will be explained.  You can do a block or quilt top.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mystery Quilt Step 2

Mystery Quilt Step Two


Divide your strips into four piles.  Two piles will contain half each of the lighter strips and the remaining will consist of the darker strips divided into two piles..


Sew the 2 ½” squares to the bottom of all the strips. 

Note: one pile of the dark and one pile of the light will have the diagonal line going one way and on the other two piles it will be going the other.

See diagrams below.






Trim the coloured section and lower layer of white ¼” from the sewn line. Press the remaining white section open so it looks like the diagram.  If you wish, for extra strength, trim only the coloured section and then iron the white square so it looks like the diagram.


Note: do all the strips from one pile and keep together.  Repeat with remaining piles.

Note:  you will have left over strips.  These are for the last row and do not have white sections.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Our little finches are back.  Roger saw one yesterday flying from the Niger feeder.  They are such pretty little birds with their bright yellow feathers. If a flock are perched in a tree, it seems as though flower buds had just burst open.
I took Heidi for a walk early this morning; before 7 a.m.  The air was still fresh and cool with only a few mosquitos flitting around. It is the nicest time of day to be out if I can drag myself out of bed to do it.  Heidi is always eager to go so I can't blame her if I don't make it.
We put our air conditioner in the window yesterday but it isn't working so we had to remove it again.  I don't think we can afford to buy another just yet so we will make do with fans.  We are supposed to get a few days cooler weather.  I am still hoping for a good rain within the next few days so the men will come and do the wiring in my quilt studio.  (The chickens are squawking like mad right now. I am sure they can be heard all around the neighbourhood.  Better than a barking dog, in my opinion.)
I am hand quilting a baby blanket so I can feed my quilting addiction while I wait to have the work done.

Do you have a favourite on line quilt shop?  Why do you like it: price, quality, service?  Does it offer free or low cost shipping?
I will publish the replies in a future blog. 

What is your favourite brand of thread for machine piecing and quilting?  Why

Tomorrow, I will post the second installment of the mystery quilt.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Back Woods Diner.

The weather is much nicer today.  Still warm but not humid.  I went into the village to the store that was interested in selling some of my quilts and she took one.  I am going to be make some baby quilts for her as well. The first one will be a hand quilted panel with fleece backing.  I've chosen to hand quilt because I can't use my machines at the moment.  My husband has moved everything so we can have the hydro put in.  It will be nice to not have extension cords running thither and yon as well as to have some proper lighting.  I would have been content to stay with what I have, however, as it is a lovely big room.  My husband has worked so hard to make this for me.  He is neither a carpenter nor electrician so it has been a learning curve. 
The photo is of some of our laying hens demonstrating what free range eggs mean.  The problem with letting them run loose is that they don't always lay their eggs in the coop.  Still, it is nice to see them roaming around and they do eat bugs and fertilize at the same time.
Our wild raspberries look as though we are going to get a good crop this year. Our little back woods heaven gives us so much fruit without us having to do any work.  In addition to the raspberries, there are blueberries and pin cherries.  If I could safely identify them, we have a ton of mushrooms some of which are probably edible as well as 'weeds' such as lambs quarters which are great as a green either raw or cooked.
Don't forget to check the details for the mystery quilt that started on the 21st.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Salads and Quilts

I sometimes have the urge to start my post the way Kelly Rippa does on the show Live: Good morning, it is Tuesday, June the 4th.
It is, indeed, Tuesday and I have just finished tidying up after having a busy few days.  Yesterday, we went to Orillia to inter my father-in-law who died in January.  There were just a few family members present and my husband read Psalm 23 and said a prayer.  The urn was placed in the ground, everyone, starting with the great grandson, tossed in some wild thyme and that was it.  Simple but meaningful to those who were there.
We took our Heidi with us and left her at our nephew and families house.  They have a black Scottie, Milo, and the two dogs played together nicely.
It was very hot yesterday; 32C, so it was nice to get back to our forested home where the breeze and trees help keep down the temperature.  It is already 22 and it isn't 10 a.m. yet so it will be another warm day.  My husband is going to put our window air conditioner in today so that will help.  My studio is still nice and cool so I will be able to work on my projects comfortably.

We are going to be having salads and cold sliced turkey for supper as it will be too warm to cook-Yahoo. This means I will be able to get lots done.  I am going to have to stop when Roger is ready to do the wiring in the studio so am trying to get as much done as possible before hand.
I have posted the first step to the mystery quilt on Friday.  Take a look and give it a try.  There are instructions for a table runner size if you would like to try a small project.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Floods and Fire

We had a fire in the village early this morning.  We heard about it when a family drove by on their way to our church.  One of the older homes in the community has been completely destroyed.  Such a shame.  It was a lovely brick building and was recently a Bed and Breakfast.  Henry Winkler (the Fonz) stayed there when he was in town doing a movie.
It seems the worst of the flood is over for Alberta and it is now moving toward Saskatchewan.  It is so odd to hear about flooding in that part of Canada as it is usually associated with drought.
I have put a new pattern on my web.  I've called it Nine Patch Cross if you would like to take a peek.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mystery Quilt

Mystery Quilt Step One


You have the option of making this project in one (or both) of two sizes. 38" X 20" suitable for wall hanging, table runner or 60" X 68" which will make a nice lap quilt.  These sizes do not include the border.

Instructions will be given for the smaller quilt with the other in brackets.

Cut 40 (210) strips 2 1/2" wide by 10 1/2"

You can  half medium and half dark strips if you wish.  Just ensure there will be a good contrast between the lighter strips and squares.

Cut 30 (180) 2 1/2" squares from white or cream fabric.

 Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white fabric squares.

Optional: spray starch your white fabric before cutting as you will be sewing on the diagonal.


Note: if cutting your squares from all the same fabric, you will need a piece 5" X width of fabric (32" X WOF)
I will post Step Two next Friday.  When completed, the pattern will be available on my web page.
Deb, you were the winner of my blog contest.  Would you contact me, please so I can send you your prize.
I have been following the news about all the flooding in Alberta and trying to find out if there is a need for small mats for pet carriers.  Sometimes a cat or dog will need to be confined to a carrier for a long period of time during these disasters and it is nice if they have something soft to help them feel comfortable.  I will let you know if I get any information.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

And today Is...?

My schedule is all mixed up this week.  I normally bake today and have a meeting at noon.  Neither is happening.  Friday is my writing day but as the meeting may happen tomorrow, I am doing that today.  Monday is, of course, my quilt group day and nothing is allowed to interfere with that.  However, a burial does take precedence.  This Monday, we will be interring my father in law.
I'm not complaining about all this but it does keep me off balance. 
Tomorrow I am going to be giving you the first steps for a Mystery Quilt.  You will have the option of making a table runner or lap quilt.
Each step will be posted on following Friday's.
Our little chicks and baby turkey's (poults?) are growing.  It will be another month before we can start thinking about eggs but then we should have lots.  The turkeys are fated for another destination but will still be much appreciated.
I have added a new link under My Favourite Places.  My brother makes lawn ornament's. I think he is quite talented.  The link will take you to a page that shows photos of them.
Looks like we are getting some seasonable weather tomorrow.  I am sitting here in a fleecy jacket and wearing socks!  It is warmer outside than in which will be nice if it ever does get hot.  In the meantime, I will bundle up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Buy Local

Our friends left this morning and are taking a scenic route to their next stop.  We had a lovely visit and the house seems a little bare right now.  Our wee Heidi is feeling particularly sad as she got so much more attention than she usually get from just the two of us. 
I need to get at some quilting and writing projects now so probably will spend the rest of the week doing one or the other.
I mentioned yesterday that my friend bought a cabinet to store and display her quilts. This is a photo of it.  There is 1/4" glass on all sides and is hand crafted and available at a store in our village.  Evelyn got it for a good price so if anyone is interested, I can send you a link.

I really like buying local and if it is made by an area artisan, that is even better. I feel quite strongly that we should support our home countries products and local designers/businesses etc.  Mass production has an important place in the economy of a country but it is the individual producer that promotes our heritage.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Economy Boost

I have been having a wonderful visit with our friends from Southern Ontario.  I think I mentioned that we had met on line and then later in person.  We see each other now about once a year although that may increase as they have seen what a beautiful area this is.  Our husbands are also friends which makes it extra nice.
Today, I took Evelyn to some of our local and area shops and she, very kindly, did her bit to help the economy.  One of our stores sells hand crafter wood and other articles and she found a wonderful glass cabinet that is used to store blankets.  We are going to be picking it up later today and I will take a picture to show you.
While we were out doing that, the men were working on the facia around the studio.
I am going to be posting instruction for a mystery quilt this week.  It uses 2 1/2" fabric and will help you get rid of some of your stash.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Smart Chickens

My husband let the chickens out of their coop for a bit today.  It gave them a chance to scratch around in a different area, eat some bugs and enjoy a bit of freedom.  Our little dog sits in the window and watches them.  I think she is doing her bit to make sure they are safe.
I went over to see what they were doing a few minutes ago because I heard the rooster squawk.  Some of the hens were inside the pen as was the rooster.  Three of the white hens were still outside scratching.  I saw the rooster come out and gradually start herding everyone toward the coop.  I just let my husband know and he has gone out to close things up.
The sky is starting to cloud over and I guess the rooster wanted to make sure all the ladies were inside before it started to rain. 
I've always thought that chickens were rather low in the intellect scale but they seem to know what they need to know.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Contest Closing

It is kind of a lazy day.  I don't feel a great deal like doing much of anything.  I have cut up some strips for a mystery quilt and started writing directions for it.  Done a bit of housework, played a lot of computer games and cleaned the studio windows.
I really would rather be outside reading a book which I don't have.  I may go later and do a bit of hand quilting.  Will also take the doggie for a walk.  I usually do that in the morning but as the bugs have settled somewhat, I can change the schedule.
We are expecting company on Sunday and I have given Heidi a bath so she can look her best.  She hates her bath but puts up with it not that she has much of a choice.  At just over 10 pounds she is rather at the mercy of her human pack members.  She knows she will get some bacon when all is finished and she would do back flips the length of our home for bacon.
I usually dry her off a bit with my hair drier but she was  shivering when we sat down to watch the news.  She was on my husband's lap (her favourite place) so he wrapped her in a quilt that is over the back of my chair. All that was visible were her eyes and black nose.  I am sure she was feeling quite pleased with herself.
You have one more day to enter my contest.  It closes tomorrow.  Send me a comment telling what you like about the blog and something you would like to see added or more of.
Good luck to all who have entered.  Winner will receive an email.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Free Pattern

Do you have an area where you live that is like a curtain between one weather system and another?  I have noticed this phenomenon in all the places where I have lived.  We have one here in the north country that is located about 20 kilometers south of us. 
We just got back from a quick trip to Huntsville.  When we left, it was sunny and warm.  We could see dark clouds ahead and, as we got to the village of Novar, the skies opened and we were in a deluge of rain.  It continued all the way to Huntsville and kept up while we shopped and for the return trip.  We stopped at a store in Novar and when I came out, it was raining so hard, I was drenched before I got to the car.
As we got back on the highway, blue sky was visible and within a short distance, the rain was gone, the sun was shining and the temperature jumped up 5 degrees!
I have added another free pattern to My Free Patterns page that is on the right side of the page.  If you have been looking for a pattern that uses 1 1/2" strips, this is it.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Craftsy Courses

My husband has built another rail fence.  This one is at the front of the house and gives ol' Hank a leaning spot.  I notice his neck scarf is getting a bit disreputable so I better see if I can find him another.
I switched my baking day to today rather than Thursday as, with my luncheon meetings, it is hard to organize the time.  Today I have made 4 loaves of pumpernickel bread, 7 dozen or so cookies, two  pans of dates square (we are having a pot luck at church on the 23rd) and a rhubarb crisp.  That should keep us for a bit.

Do you take courses on line?  I increased my quilting skills from  on line courses and find them an easy and inexpensive way to increase my knowledge of just about everything.
Craftsy has many free or inexpensive courses.  You may know them as a place to buy patterns but they do offer a lot of other things as well: fabric and various courses to name a couple.  I've added a link for you to click if you would like to check them out.

There are only a couple more days to enter my contest.  To win a copy of my book, Scrappy Quilts and More or a pattern of your choice, just send me a comment stating what you like about my blog and what you would like to see included i.e. more contests, photos, free patterns etc.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is That Black or Brown?

I've just got back from my eye exam (they passed) and some shopping.  Here is a bit of advice just in case you are like me.  I had eye drops during my test which has made them very light sensitive.  After leaving there I went to our quilt store to pick out some fabric for a sample quilt I am making for a class I will be teaching in the fall.  I found it quite difficult to look closely at the fabric while trying to see the differences in shades and pattern.  Fortunately, one of the store owners came to my rescue and helped me chose a couple of fabrics.  She was familiar with my pattern so that helped.  I must remember next time I go for my test to not also plan on buying fabric.
I have been cutting out some apple shapes from fabric backed with fusible for a baby quilt.  Yesterday evening, I ironed some of the fusible with the traced shapes onto the fabric, cut them out and was ready to iron them onto the top when I realized I had fused the wrong side.  Drat.  Now I have to do some more and I can't blame that on the drops.
My husband and I have decided to see how we manage with just one cell phone.  Mine is old so we are going with his.  Now I need to learn all its little tricks and get my numbers programmed into it.  Not sure how long this will last but as neither of us are umbilically tied to our cell phone, it might work.  Another few dollars saved.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Windown.

Sunday is drawing to a close.  It has been a busy day.  After church, we went to the 60th birthday party for our Pastor's mother-in-law.  It was a nice get together and, as the weather was great, we were able to be outdoors. I haven't done much since coming home.  We had enough to eat at the picnic that we really didn't need supper.
It was the first outdoors event that we've been to this year.  Our spring, as has been the case through much of the country, has been cool and wet.  Along with the miserable weather was a healthy crop of flying bugs.  The black flies are lessening so being outside is not only possible but pleasant.

Yesterday, I sewed the blocks for my appliqued chicken blocks together.  I decided not to use sashing strips but plan on doing some more applique or embellishments in the corners.
Tomorrow starts another busy week.  Quilt group Monday, optometrist and shopping Tues, meeting Thurs and another on Sat.

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Quilt

Nine patch Variation (c) The Back Woods Quilter

I just braved the black flies to dash out and take a photo of my latest quilt.  The pattern will be available soon on my web site.
I have started a baby quilt today and am now in the tedious step of machine embroidering around the appliques. 
As you can see in the photo, the sun is shining.  The weather guy did say it was going to rain but I am glad he is wrong.  It is nice to see the grass nice and lush but it is even nicer to see the sun shine.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fluffy Family Addition

The newest additions to our family.  The darker coloured chicks are turkeys.  They have a brown tinge because of the red heat light that is shining on them.  My husband is holding a turkey chick to give you a closer look.  I have one of its huge cousins in the oven today.  It is cool so it is a good way to add some heat to the house.  I am also making bread and that will help keep me warm.  I used maple syrup as part of the sugar this time.
You can substitute the syrup for sugar in any recipe that includes a liquid.  Just reduce the amount of liquid according the  quantity of syrup. i.e. 1/2 cup of maple syrup means reducing the milk or water by 1/2 cup.
I also toss some cinnamon into the batter as it is so good for you and it smells lovely when you make toast.
Getting to be quite the gourmand, aren't I?
Have you entered my contest yet?  Send a comment stating what you like about the blog and what you would like to see included i.e. more free patterns, more stories about the back woods etc.
Winner gets a free copy of my book or a choice of one of my patterns.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Passing in the Driveway

My husband and I just passed each other in the driveway.  I was returning from a funeral service, he is on his way to pick up our new chicks.  Life is like that sometimes, isn't it.  One person or the other is either coming or going.
This happens to us less often now we are living here on our back woods property.  In Edmonton, having a day together was a luxury.  This was usually because of me.  I was always off to a meeting somewhere.  I now only belong to the quilt group and a community one.  My husband has a euchre group that meets each week and occasionally he goes out on a motorcycle run with some friends.
Of course, just because we are at home doesn't necessarily mean we are in the same location. Roger is usually outside doing something manly while I am either writing, quilting or tending to my housewifely duties. We always seem to be busy at something.
The arrival of the baby chicks will be another chore.  These are laying birds so they won't grow as fast as the meat chickens.  We had a flock of those a while back and watching them grow was like watching popping corn.  One moment fluffy chick, the next large white hen. The step from hen in the coop to hen in the freezer is one we don't want to we don't want to experience again.  We still have meat birds but they are raised by someone else and we share the expense and work-or rather my husband does.
I believe we are taking delivery of a few turkey chicks as well.  I am interested in seeing what they look like.  Also interested in seeing if I react the same way to the turkey in the pen, turkey in the freezer transition as I did with the chickens.
Our little dog was sick yesterday.  Not sure what she ate (if that was the problem) but I was cleaning up after her all day and then again this morning.  She wasn't lethargic or off her food so I can only surmise she ingested something that would have been better left on the ground.
Will post a photo of our new brood tomorrow.  May also have an announcement of a mystery quilt project.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Peanut Butter Delight and Contest Reminder

This looks as thought it is going to be an especially busy week so I have started some of my baking today rather than leaving it all until Thursday.  I have made some ice box cookies and 3 small loaves of rhubarb bread as well as a half dozen muffins.  I will do the regular bread and more cookies on my usual day.  I am looking for any excuse to use the maple syrup now.  There are so many recipes where it can be substituted for something else.  For example, I have a ginger cookie recipe which calls for corn syrup which I never use.  Maple syrup is the perfect sub. 
If you like peanut butter-and who doesn't, here is a wonderful treat to have on your morning toast.  Mix a bit of maple syrup into your peanut butter before spreading on your toast.  I like to buy a jar of the natural PB (the kind that is just peanuts) stir well so the oil is mixed in and then add the maple syrup.  I can't give you exact measurements.  I just add a bit, stir, taste, add more if needed stir and taste.  Of course, I really enjoy the 'taste' part!  You could probably do this with regular PB but as it already has sugar added you might end up with calorie overload.  Maple syrup is, of course, calorie neutral.  I wish!
I pulled some weeds this morning and planted the last of the garden.  I was swooshing bugs away while working but some managed to get around my hand.  My forehead is covered in bites (and calamine lotion) and I have a few more behind one ear and on the side of my face.  Dratted things.  My husband was out cutting wood and has just come in for the same reason.  He has half the supply needed for winter cut already.  He will be rewarded with a rhubarb muffin for lunch.
We had a nice visit with my brother and sister-in-law on Sunday.  He has been making cement lawn ornaments.  He has quite an artistic talent although he doesn't have a lot of time to use it.  He is also, like me, a writer.  I hope to be able to share some photos of the ornaments later.
Another reminder about my contest:  send me a comment saying what you like about the blog and an idea for something I can include or do more often i.e. free patterns.
Contest closes June 15th and the winner receives a copy of my book or one their choice of my patterns.
Enter Now!  time passes quickly.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Parade Day

The RCMP Musical Ride is in the village today and we went to the parade where I took these two contrasting photos.  The miniature horses belong to the village mayor.  Cathy isn't very tall (compared to me) so you can see how tiny the horses are.
The Mounties in their dress reds are one of the Canada's favourite symbols.
Entries are starting to come in for the contest.  Remember that to enter, you have to send me a comment saying what you like about the blog and what you would like to see added/changed i.e. more contests, photos.  Winner receives a copy of my book or a pattern of their choice.  Contest closes June 15th.