Friday, May 30, 2014

Mouthwash Bug Repellent

I thought I might have a photo today of the completed place mats but I still have the binding on one to finish.  I had an article to write for our local visitor's guide so I have been alternating between the computer and sewing machine.  This is my usual habit which gives me a chance to stand up once in a while. 
Our vegetable garden is doing well.  I just picked some rhubarb for supper.  Peas are up as are potatoes, lettuce, beets, zucchini and pumpkins.  Come to think of it, that is pretty much all we planted.  Couple of other things but we didn't do a lot of variety.  We did do a lot more tomatoes this year though and the ones we started indoors have flowers on them.
A reader minded me of something I had intended to use as a bug deterrent this year.  I read somewhere that you could mix Listerine (the original type) with something and put it in a spray bottle.  I soaked cotton balls full strength and put them on the window sills.  I found a couple of areas where the mosquitos might have been getting in and sealed them but, just in case I missed something, the Listerine should be a back up.  I also dabbed some on the outside of the door we use the most to discourage mosquitos from zipping in. There seems to be a lot less in the house today so the mouthwash might be working.
It is amazing how many mosquitoes there are this year.  I was looking out the kitchen window this morning and the air looked like it had dandelion fluff floating everyone.  It wasn't dandelions, though, but mosquitos
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ugh, Flying Bugs

I don't usually do this at this time of year but, today, I made two batches of grape jelly.  We finished up the last of our jams and jelly last week and, as it was cooler today and I had the supplies, I decided it would be a good idea to make some more.
I am all finished including the clean up which takes almost as long as the making of and now I am waiting for it to set.  It is rare that it doesn't but there is always the possibility so the waiting is a bit nerve wracking.
We are waging a losing battle with mosquitos.  They are so bad this year that our Welcome Centre in the village can't do any baking.  Usually they have the most delicious muffins imaginable as well as other baked goods, coffee and ice cream.  However, the mosquitoes are so prevalent that they can't, safely, make anything.  I don't know how the restaurants are managing.  Probably because they have larger cooking areas they are able to keep everything under control.
I have sprayed around the doors and hung those sticky coils without a great deal of difference.  I need to get some citronella candles to burn.
The old timers say that this is the worst they have seen the flying pestilence in many years.  Of course, there is so much standing water so it is to be expected.  I am even keeping my legs covered in the house to reduce the attack.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hanging Solution.

I had my acupuncture treatment today and it always tires me out.  You wouldn't think having a dozen tiny needles stuck in various parts of the body would make you tired, but it does. I do find that it helps my neck so a few hours of being very relaxed won't hurt me.

I have finally started requilting the northern lights wall hanging.  I originally did it on the machine but didn't like it as the stitching seemed to dense.  So, I unpicked it all.  Since then, I have been working at other things but periodically thinking about a quilting pattern for this.
I have finally come up with something that I am happy with.  I am hand quilting it.  I am using a variegated blue thread that has a sheen and, so far, I like the results.  I have been looking for a hand quilting project that I can do outside so I have solved two problems.  I will post a photo when I have it completed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Sky is Falling. The Sky is Falling.

My  husband painted the living room and kitchen ceilings yesterday while I was at quilt group.  He didn't do the whole thing but just the areas that got stained during the winter leaks.  I wasn't sure he would be able to match the existing colour but he did a great job.  Nice being married to an artist with colour sense.  It is a bit shinier but that will disappear as soon as we start the wood stove again.  My cooking will also, no doubt, help.
Thank you, Caroline, for responding to my request for input regarding the border of the place mats.  It seems we were on the same wave length.  I have done two in the green and two in the hot pink.  The binding will be a plain black which, I think, will make for a nice contrast.
Husband has also been working on the larger chicken coop getting it ready to move the flock from the old house as well as adding some more hens.  We are getting 10 eggs a day but the customer base is increasing so we want to make sure we have enough when the existing hens go through their molt and the laying slows down.
One of the hens is a real 'The sky is falling' type.  She squawks and screeches all the time causing great consternation to the dog.  One of these days there is going to be a problem and no-one will pay any attention to her.

This photo is what I see out the window from my sewing table.  The spring bulbs are putting on a lovely show.  I want to expand the bed along the fence, add more bulbs in the fall and some annuals right now.  I haven't got my gnome population out of their winter home yet either.  Always seems to be lots to do.  Anything outdoors is done is spurts as the mosquitos have joined the black flies.  The latter should leave soon and it is much easier to protect against the former so conditions will improve.  Also have to get our bug house put up so we can sit our for longer periods.
Looks like another wonderful day in paradise.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dollar Store Fun

I have finished the scarves except for a few touches up and now I need to get back to my writing.  I have a couple of articles to do as well as some work for our area visitor's guides.  There always seems to be something to do, doesn't there.
I took today off and my husband and I went and did some shopping in nearby Huntsville.  We noticed that a new dollar store opened so stopped in there.  This is actually an old one that moved into a larger space and, my goodness, it certainly is larger.  I spent quite a bit of time walking around bemused.  I bought some gardening things and the cutest little doggie sweat suit.  I have been looking for something that covered the legs to keep snow from matting on her hair.  I think this will be perfect.  She looks really sweet in it.
Husband bought a number of solar lights.  We like to have them attached to the house so we or visitors safely navigate  around the building as we don't have any outdoor electric lights except at the front.
Dollar stores are always so much fun.  I get a lot of quilt notions there such as plastic containers to hold blocks or remnants.
Tomorrow, I hope to finish the wheel chair lap quilt that is in the frame.  I also want to start some small projects for myself such as place mats, mug mats and pin cushions.  I will share some photos when I have them done.

Place Mat Question

This is what I have been working on this afternoon.  I discovered these 3.5 inch 4 block squares while sorting through my scraps.  They went into my 'Use for Place Mats" bag.  I took them out yesterday afternoon, did some shuffling and this is the result.  I haven't decided on whether to use the hot pink or lime for the borders.  What do you think? The middle photo is a close up so you can get a better idea of the fabric patterns.  Not something you would want to see if you were feeling nauseous, is it?
Got my car back from the tune up and found I need the front bearings done.  I was hoping the noise was as a result of something being loose but suspected bearings.  I have another appointment to get those done.  Husband could do it but it is so hard on his hip to keep getting up and down from the ground.  I would sooner pay for it.
Happy Memorial Day to my American readers-and anyone else who celebrates this important day of remembering.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Car Recalls.

Some days you just spin your wheels.  I did actually get quite a bit done; magazine article written and sent, 6 loaves of bread made but I didn't get my wireless connected.  I bought a router some time ago so I could use my tablet but haven't been able to get it hooked up.  It should be fairly simple but, obviously, I am doing something wrong.  My neighbour has the same set up so I will have to go and see what she has done.
Other than that, it has been a nice day.  I was able to take Heidi for a walk without being attacked by flying bandits and even sat outside for a while.  However, by late this afternoon, it was no longer possible.
I have done some more work on the quilt that is on the frame.  I really enjoy freehand quilting so much so that it is going to be hard to go back to using a design and the laser.
Tomorrow the car goes in for its spring oil change.  I keep forgetting to call the dealer and get on the recall list.  My car is one of the ones that is needs a bunch of things done to prevent possible serious accidents.  Nice to know a person is driving something that could, through no fault of their own,  could cause a fatality.  I better do that now before I forget again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sew, sew, sew.

I have tied myself to the sewing machine today working on the neck scarves for the Scouts.  I am  almost done except for the badges.  A person certainly doesn't make any money doing this sort of thing but you can't charge a non profit group  what your labour is worth.
It has taken me a bit longer than normal as I have had to figure out what the previous person did.  Now that has been solved, I am getting them completed quite a bit quicker.
Yesterday, at quilt group, I sorted through a large bag of remnants and got a lot of sorting done.  The larger pieces were folded and set aside to be used in scrap projects or to be added to something as needed.  There were a lot of blocks that had been made as samples and they went into a bag and labelled for placemats.  One of the other ladies is making a log cabin quilt so she took narrow strips.
I am pleased with the progress I made.  As I mentioned before, I am no longer going to cut fabric into a multitude of sizes.  Instead, I am going to trim them to a rectangle or square, fold and put in a drawer to be cut and used as needed.
Hope everyone had a safe weekend.  It was Victoria Day yesterday so a long weekend for Canadian workers. It is the first long weekend of the summer although the summer wasn't particularly summer like.
I put my tomato plants in today so hope the cooler weather is past.  I am taking tomorrow off and going into Huntsville with my husband when he goes to buy some lumber.  We need a new phone as the battery seems to be going on the ones we have and I would like to buy some more plants.
Back to work!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Another Link

My commissioned wedding quilt is completely done.  I de threaded this morning and will sew on the label this evening while watching television.
I have another quilt in the frame already.  It is a wheelchair sized lap blanket and will go to a senior's home when finished.  Also have fabric cut to make neck scarves for a scout troop-another commission.
Yesterday, I posted a link to a binding tutorial and Fran was kind enough to send me another video.  This one was made by her husband and contains a different method of joining those binding ends.  Just click on the link.  The close ups are excellent as is the explanation.  I also enjoyed his off the cuff comments about following Fran's instructions.  How nice to have a husband that sews although,  to be truthful, I am glad mine doesn't.  He paints, I quilt.  We give encouragement as well as advice when requested but other than that our respective areas are our respective areas.
Here is the link:

I bought some vegetable seeds today and we will plant tomorrow but won't be putting in tomatoes or anything else that will be above ground.

Happy Victoria Day to all those in the Commonwealth.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Quilt Finished

I've finished the wedding quilt.  In the process, I found a new method for joining the start and finish ends of the binding.   This is an area where I have always had a problem despite learning how at a course I took years ago.  The instructor showed us how to do a nice mitred join with iron on tape but I found it too fiddly and never used it.  I am the queen of anti fiddly!  

It is simple and quick with only marking, cutting and sewing involved.  One hint:  be careful that you cut one end at the opposite angle from the other.  Guess how I know that?
A photo of the quilt is below as well as a photo I took one evening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getting the Garden Ready

I have the binding half done on the wedding quilt.  It is always nice to see a project completed although the end of one only makes way for the beginning of another. My next project is to finish the northern lights wall hanging.  It only needs to be quilted and then bound.
I have also packed all my fabric remnants in a bag to take to quilt group where I can spread them out on a large table (or two) and sort.  Once I have decided what I am going to keep, they will be cut into the largest squares I can get from each piece.  I have given up on cutting into various sizes because I just end up with a lot of fabric pieces that never get made into anything.
The squares are going to be used for making half square triangles, small thread catchers and square in a square blocks.  The latter will be done using the Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s exploding block pattern.
I will also use some of the squares to make small pencil case/make up size bags to give to a women's charity.
I see we have a rainfall warning from the weather bureau.  I have my tomatoes outside so I must remember to get them in before they get knocked down by rain.  We are hoping to get most of our garden in this weekend.  I have made my list of what to plant where, dear husband has picked up the top soil and added fertilizer to the gardens so we are ready.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Purple Trilliums

I have been working almost non stop on the wedding quilt I am making for a lady.  I am just about ready to sew on the binding but stopped for a break and to take the dog for a walk.  It is surprising how tiring sitting and sewing can be.  I am expecting a lady to come over in a bit.  She wants to hire me to make the neck scarves that scouts wear.  I make them for another group and the leader of that one told this one.  Always glad of a little extra money to spend on more quilty things.

While Heidi and I were walking through the bush, I saw that the trilliums were all in bloom.  We only get the purple ones.  I know there is a reason why we get purple and not white but can't remember what it is.  They are pretty anyway.  The only problem with flowering  trilliums is that they herald the arrival of the black flies and they have arrived.  Not plentiful as yet but they are here.

It was cool and wet this morning but the sun is shining now and it is nice out.  We had to start the wood stove to take the chill out of the air earlier.  Amazing that we are in the middle of May and it is still cool enough to need a fire.
Back to work.

Friday, May 9, 2014


We have had our first thunderstorm of the season.  I had been outside raking the lawn when the first sprinkles started and, within a very short time, the sky went black and the rain came down in torrents.  The chickens had been wandering around the yard so I checked to see if they had found shelter.  They usually hustle back to their coop and that is where they had gone.  While looking out the window, I saw two trees come down near the coop.  This wasn't surprising as my husband had been trying to cut them down earlier in the week.  The chainsaw developed a problem on the one so it was only cut part way-almost through but not quite.  The other had got hung up on branches of another tree and had to hang there until the saw was fixed.
When husband got home from his game of euchre, he was pleased to hear the storm had saved him some work.
When the sky cleared, I turned the computer back on so I could listen to a podcast.  I have started following the Canadian Quilt Talk broadcasts recently and knew a friend of mine was having a story she submitted read.  I listened to that one while working on the border of a quilt.  Then I put on one that had been made a while ago and involved an interview with the owner of Quilts for Sale.  Maria is also the co owner of Quilt Pattern Magazine and this was the subject matter.  During the interview, she mentioned how the magazine got started and the people who contributed to its operation.  Much to my surprise, my name was given as a writer, pattern designer and blogger.  I am sure I did a wiggle in the pattern I was stitching!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Always Something to do

Some of my daffodils are in bloom.  Just a small clump near the house but it is nice to see their cheery yellow heads.  I am looking forward to seeing the 50 that I planted in front of the rail fence.  I will be able to see them from my windows which will be nice.  The hyacinths in another garden are close to bloom and I am hoping the bit of rain we are getting will encourage them to add their colour.
I have been doing a lot of computer work today.  This morning, I had a video chat with a friend and then this afternoon a neighbour came over to see if I had some fabric she needed.  She was also looking for photos for doing a girls quilt and I was able to locate and print them for her.  She is new to the internet and only has a tablet so was quite amazed to see how easily I could get what she wanted.
In the midst of all that, I've made 6 loaves of bread, a large container of nuts and bolts munchies,done a load of laundry and  more fabric scrap sorting.  I have been making mini thread catchers when I need a break from sorting.  A friend has a craft store and is interested in carrying some of these.
I am also going to start some simple cosmetic bags to donate.  Always something to do, isn't there?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Place to Donate

Another step toward summer;  we got the woodbox outside and cleaned the floor where it sat.  We need a new container for the firewood as this one has fallen apart. I was sweeping bark and other wood bits from around its base all winter.  Dear husband will be building a new one for next year.

I have been in touch with an  agency that connects with organizations that work with and for women.  I was looking for a place where I could donate items such as fabric bags, pillowcases, place mats etc. that would be given to those in need.  This agency turned out to be the right one.
I am now going to go through my remnants and set aside the fabric that can be used for this.  I know at least some of the ladies in our local quilt group will want to contribute as well.
There is always someone in need.  There are just a bit harder to find in an area outside communities with a large population.  I am glad I was able to find this agency.  I have known about it for some time as they send me items to be included in the community events column I do for the local paper. I thought they might be a good one to contact and I was right.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Squirrels and Gadgets

I am working on gadgets again. I ordered a router so I could have wireless hook up and it arrived today.  After diddling with it for a bit, I realized I didn't have to have it connected to my PC as I just need it for the tablet.  Plugged the thing into an outlet in the kitchen and voila! internet connection.  Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.  It worked fine for my first use but then didn't after that.  The connection is still there.  The tablet says it is there and working but when I try to do a search or check my mail, I get a message saying there isn't a connection.  I've done the refresh etc.  without any luck. 
I will try again later.  Perhaps when I boot up again, it will be there.

My on line group Hearts to Hands want to set up a Virtual Retreat via Skype or Google Hangout which is why I wanted to have my tablet online.  I could do it on my desk PC but the tablet would be more convenient.
My husband has started chopping down trees for our firewood.  He only does this when I am home in case of a mishap so he isn't always able to make a lot of progress.  However, as there is a lot of exertion involved, I suspect he doesn't mind the forced breaks.
We have been having some problems with our old truck.  It is our second vehicle and only gets used for such things as trips to the dump or hauling things that either doesn't fit or I won't allow in the car.  Fertilizer as an example. It hasn't been starting despite the new battery.  Husband thinks he found the problem.  A squirrel had taken up residence on the engine.  We suspect that it chewed through a wire.
Country living!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Whooo Knew

Aren't these two little owls the cutest hot pads you have ever seen?  They are 4.5" X 6.5" and are made by my friend Terry.  She also did the reversible little monster bib.  Even the most perfect of children have an off moment.  These will make great gifts.  I am going to be selling some of Terry's creations on my web site.  (

I am ready for the craft sale.  I always find these events are great for finding items that I forgot I had.  I used to make fly fishing rod covers (called socks) for a store in Edmonton.  I found some that I made before moving.  They are going in the sale.  Also have a few things for pets as well as small wall hangings and a lap quilt.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Folding Fabric

I am just finishing the last bits and pieces of the items I want to put in the craft sale on Saturday.  I don't have a lot but a lady in our local quilt group has also added a few things so I should have a full table.
After I get this done, I have retreat things to put away (I have admired them long enough) and then I am going to refold all my fabric.  The retreat leader shared with me how she does hers so she can easily tell how much fabric is in each bundle without having to unfold it.

With thanks to Karen J., here is the method: bring your salvage edges together and then bring the fold to the salvage.  Do this as often as you like to get the desired width. Now bring the short edges together and repeat until your fabric is 10 inches by whatever width you did.  My shelves are 12" deep so a 10" long bundle works nicely.  Now when I want to know how much fabric is in that bundle, I only have to count the folds i.e. 4 folds=40 inches or 1 metre.

I was determined to not talk about the weather today so hope you enjoy the folding hint.