Friday, April 29, 2011

The Wedding

If you are not a Royalist or a sentimentalist, you may want to skip today's blog.  In which case, I wish you a good weekend and we will see you again next week.
This morning, my husband an I joined the millions of others around the world to watch Prince William and Katherine's wedding.  We had planned a nice English breakfast but ended up having scones with jam which was our mid day menus.  It was too early to eat much and we both wanted to watch the television.  I am rather tired now as we got up earlier than usual but I am still glad we did.  It was quite an event.
Like many women, I was interested in seeing what hats the women where going to wear and, of course, the dress.  I think it-the dress, was less elaborate than I thought it might be.  It was, however, lovely and really suited her.
I also enjoyed listening to the commentators and the interviews with the various spectators.  The average person's reaction really adds to the fun.  The wedding service itself and all the pageantry was wonderful. the Queen as was forecast did wear a bright yellow which made her visible amidst all the other colours.  I believe her clothes are chosen with that in mind.  She is aware that people want to see her no matter what else is going on. 
I kept thinking of Katherine's parents while watching.  What an astounding day it must have been for them.  Their little girl that they had watched grow up and hoped would marry a nice young man and be happy was becoming part of the royal family.  I think they conducted themselves with dignity and they deserve credit for adapting themselves.  Mrs. Middleton, unlike the mother of most brides, did not get to have a central part in the proceedings.  And now, when in public, she will have to curtsy to her daughter!  I expect that not in her wildest dreams did she ever expect that day to happen.
Ah, well, back to my scrub board.
Blessings ,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Few More Hours

Are you going to be watching The Wedding?  We will be taping it and then watching after we get up.  We will be having an English breakfast, lunch and supper.  We have English muffins, I've made scones and bought sausages.  I also have my scarf with the union jack and a hat.I also have a huge union jack flag outside but that is always there as befitting my English birth. 
We have, of course, been watching all the news reports.  It is nice to have something to take your mind off the election mud slinging but, I think, everyone just likes to have a small part in an historic event.  With all the wars, weather destruction and general unhappiness in the world, the wedding has provided us all with something pleasant. 
I have been a royalist for as long as I can remember. I watched the Queen's coronation on television and had a scrap book of photos of her and the rest of the royal family.  Someone stole it  and, although that was years ago, it still irritates me.  I have seen the Queen on a number of occasions , Prince Philip once but none of the younger family members.  Perhaps I will have a chance to see Prince William and Katherine during their Canadian visit this summer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yard Work Etc

Now that Spring is here, we are starting to get ready for next winter.  Today, I  raked last years detritus from the vegetable gardens and the lawn.  The compost still hasn't completely thawed yet so I can't spread that around but the ground is all ready for it.
My husband has started splitting and piling wood so, when I had finished my work, I have him a hand.  We got a good sized pile stacked before it was time for lunch and the rain started.
Since then, I have been in my quilt room weeding out some of the smaller bits of fabric to cut into strips and adding in my birthday fabric.  I have also gone through the partially finished quilts and labelled them so I know what needs to be done to finish them.  A number of them have been used as practice pieces as I was learning how to use my machine and frame.  Not sure what I will do with them.  The tops are nice but the quilting is rough to say the least.  A couple I will give to the younger members of the family to use as play mats.
We are getting quite a rain storm right now.  I don't think there is going to be a hydro outage but, if it happens, I have a large tote that is full of odd bits of fabric just waiting to be cut up.  I am not sure what I am going to do with all the strips.  How many scrap quilts can one person make or use?
I wish I had been able to get a few bulbs in the garden to take advantage of the rain but I believe it is a bit early yet.  The timing is a bit tricky in this area: you try to get things done before black fly season but also after frost.  I think I will get the garlic bulbs and potatoes in this week though.  Any frost shouldn't bother them.  I can always cover them with all this extra fabric!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Food Nostalgia

It is a rainy, windy day here today.  The Internet has been flickering on and off but the hydro is still with us. I am working on the top of a quilt that I am going to put on my web site so, of course, everything keeps going wrong.  However, there isn't much more to do so I persevere.
We had a busy Easter weekend with dinner at the in-laws on Saturday, brunch at church on Sunday, quilting and ladies group on Monday.  My traditional Easter meal is ham and scalloped potatoes so, as we haven't had them yet, I am making it for supper.
It is funny how we associate certain foods with an event or holiday.  Cinnamon buns remind me of my mother's love, home made granola I associate with my son.  Roast beef for Sunday dinner recalls my English heritage especially if it accompanied by Yorkshire pudding.  Chicken soup is, of course, what you have if you aren't feeling well and stew or hot chocolate is for cold winter days.
Have you started your contest entry yet?  The prize package is valued at approximately $30.00 plus receiving all the entry blocks.  Let me know when you are ready to send it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Behold The Lamb

My husband and I just got back from decorating the church for Sunday.

This little quilt hangs in the church and depicts the scripture in John which says, "Behold the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world."
The background was made using Ricky Tims method of taking two fabrics, cutting in strips, sewing together, recutting etc.  I took it a step further and added horizontal cuts.
May you all have a blessed and happy Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quilty on Line Stuff

I have just ordered some products for my machine frame from an on-line store.  As the store is in the States, I am saving because of our dollar and because I didn't have to use my vehicle.  I am irritated that the Canadian stores are not lowering their prices for consumers.  It costs them less to purchase their inventory so they should be passing that on to shoppers.  I don't expect a big discount especially as the fuel prices are so high but a little something to encourage us to spend our dollars in our own country would be nice.
I am afraid that tourism is going to suffer this year unless our government does something to cap fuel cost.
The products I ordered are specifically for my frame so really couldn't have been bought anywhere else but I still feel bad.  I am getting a laser pointer and a new set of clamps that will hold the quilt more securely.  I have also ordered the new True Cut rulers.  The ladies in my local quilt group already got the 24" ruler and now some of them want the 12" one.  This ruler is a real step forward in tools.  It has a ledge that prevents the rotary cutter from slipping and cutting your hand instead of fabric.  It also has cut outs that let you see your fabric better and allows you to mark your fabric. 
While I wait for all this to arrive, I am working on a new quilt pattern.  Should have it ready to sell shortly.
And now, I am going to drag my boots back out of storage and take the dog for a walk.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Photos

The birds were a little confused this morning as we have got a few more inches of snow. It started last night and, along with some ice pellets, has continued all morning.  A good day to make bread.
These little birds are some of the dozens where were scraping at the ground and gathering around the feeders looking for seeds.  I am glad that I filled them up the other day.  The bars you can see around the feeder is to discourage the deer.
The other photos are from my birthday party.  My husband and I were chatting with the piper while he took a bit of a break.  Heidi just wasn't sure of what to make of it all.  The final picture is some of my family.  My sister, Helen, from England is on the right with my brother and his wife on the left.  The tall fellow in the back is my son.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hopping Around

 Neither of these pictures are very clear as I took them through a window.  This little squirrel is perched on top of a dead tree trunk and enjoying the seeds he just stole from the bird feeder.
The other photo shows a woodpecker busily feasting on the suet we had on a tree near the driveway.
Both creatures were more concerned with food that me taking a picture but I didn't want to push their tolerance by going any closer to them.
Yesterday, we had a tom turkey in full strut.  His head was a bright blue (my husband said it was from holding its breath while puffing out its chest) and its wings were held away from its body much like a body builder who was showing off his physique.
With the exception of our friends the squirrel and woodpecker, all the creatures here in the backwoods seem to be intent on finding a mate.  The weather might not be spring like but the birds are behaving as though it is here.
Have you read about my contest yet?  All the details are on my web page. (See link on the right side of the blog.) The rules are simple and I have chosen some nice quilty stuff to be included in the prize basket.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is Your Vehicle Secure?

Today, I would like to talk about something that is dear to my heart; the safety of children in a vehicle.  If you have young children, I am certain you make sure that they are in their safety seats.  You wouldn't dream of letting them jump around on the seats (although some adults do) while you drive. But, were you aware that there is one safety factor that is overlooked by the majority of drivers that is a frequent cause of death for children.  That factor?  Your parking (emergency) brake.  It should always be activated when your vehicle is parked.  Why? Let me tell you of a story that was in the news this week.
A couple of small children where left in the family car while the parent ran back into the house to get something.  The car was running.  One of the children moved the gear selector and the car started rolling and ran over a little girl that was nearby.  This tragic situation could have been prevented if the parking brake had been on.  When children are left alone in a vehicle, it is natural for them to pretend they are driving.  They jerk the steering wheel and tug on the gear selector.  If the parking brake is set, (and working properly) the car will just stall if it is put in gear.
I have been told by adults that the reason they don't use their brake is they forget to release it before they move the car.  Most cars have a light or noise that warns you if something is wrong.  You should, of course, be in the habit of checking all the guages and lights before moving.  And, as mentioned above, if the brake is working properly, the car will not roll on its own and if you apply gas, it will still be very difficult to get it moving.
Another complaint is that the brake freezes on in the winter.  I have lived in an area where the temperatures were at minus 40 celcius for days on end.  My brake never froze.  The key is to always use it.
By the way, I am talking about vehicles which have automatic transmissions as well as those that are manual (standard shift).
I get so angry when I hear of a child that has died when a simple action would have saved them.  If you have found this information helpful, you have my permission to print it and give it to anyone with little children. Perhaps together we can help a few more of these precious little ones reach adulthood.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Wasted Trip-Sort Of

We had to go to Huntsville today to do some government stuff.  Got to the office and it was closed.  Very frustrating.  So, we did a bit of shopping.  I bought fabric (naturally) for a quilt I've designed and we got a few groceries.
Once I got back home I phoned to find out when the office would be open and discovered we went to the wrong place.  Back to Huntsville we go on Tuesday.  It is only open two days a week. 
Ah well.  Could be worse.  At least, we have a vehicle and fuel.
I forgot to mention yesterday when talking about quilting gifts that I got a book from my sister that has patterns which help you develop your colour skills.  I think many quilters have a problem with determining which colour looks best for a border, binding or even in the quilt top itself.  I generally play it safe but it would be nice to be a little more confident.  This author combines colours that I wouldn't choose but she does write in a way that is easy to understand.
Of course, colour preference is such a subjective thing, isn't it.  Some people like pink and red together whereas I really dislike it.  I also have a bit of a problem with blue/yellow combinations.  I have got a bit more adventuresome over the years mainly because I have started doing scrappies.
Quilting is something that has a continuous learning curve which is one of the reason's I enjoy it so much.
Be sure to check my web page tomorrow for the contest rules.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gifts and a Contest

It is another lovely day here in the backwoods.  The sun is shining, geese are on the pond and I am in my quilt room.  Does life get any better? 
Thank you for all the lovely comments about my dear husband and my birthday party.  It is one of those events that has created a book full of memories.
I mentioned yesterday that I was going to tell you about my quilty gifts today.  The ladies in my quilt group gave me enough fabric (Thimbleberries, yahoo) to make a good sized quilt and all in my colours-deep blue, brown and beige.  I may use some of the beige in a applique wall hanging that is on my to do list.  I think the colour is just right for the background.
My sister, who lives in England, gave me some splendid English fabrics; again enough to make a quilt.  These prints, which are co ordinated,  consist of various sized flowers and I would rather not cut them into small pieces.   I have, therefore,  been mentally designing a pattern for them.  I have come up with overlapped, on point squares set in vertical rows separated by strips.  I am thinking of something like a Victorian wall paper look.  It will mean dealing with Y seams or I may  simply applique the square assembly. Cutting the fabric into smaller sections would be easier but I want to retain as much of the whole flowers as possible.
And now, for you, as a thank you for your encouragement and faithfulness; a preview of my contest.  You are going to be asked to  make a 12 1/2" shoo fly block.  But, I don't want you to just follow the pattern.  Use the shapes and put them together as you wish, use unusual fabric, make it as original as you can.
When finished, send me the block.  The winner will receive the blocks plus an additional prize.  There will also be a second and third place price.
All this information will be on my web page on Friday along with the pattern. All entries must be received by May 31st so put on your thinking cap. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wow! That Was a Celebration

I think my head is getting back to dealing with my usual activities.  My husband and I spent most of Friday cleaning house and getting ready for my birthday celebration.  I didn't know what was happening other than people were coming.  I knew my brother and his wife had previous plans and the same was true with my husbands family.  I was disappointed that they wouldn't be there but realized that everyone has a life.
Just before eleven, people started arriving and kept coming until around two.  The house was full and a number of people were outside as we had lovely weather.  This, as it turned out, was a factor in Roger's plans.  At one, I was told I had to go outside as something was going to happen.  And it did.  In the distance, I could hear the wonderful sound of a piper.  It got closer until he reached our yard and continued to play for another half hour.  Many of my favourite tunes were included: Dark Island, Scotland the Brave, Flower of Scotland, Amazing Grace etc.  and, of course, Happy Birthday.  It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.  I love the bagpipes and frequently listen to them on cd but nothing, nothing takes the place of hearing them live especially when surrounded by nature.  I will never forget the thoughtfulness and love of my husband.
And, yes, my brother and sister-in-law and many of my husbands family came as did my son, sister from England, church and quilting friends, neighbours and other friends. It was a wonderful, wonderful day.  Most people don't have their lives celebrated until they have died.  Mine was celebrated on my 65th birthday.  I am truly blessed and very fortunate.  I will tell you, tomorrow,  about the quilting things I received.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pre-Birthday Celebration

I am late in getting at my blog today.  I spent the day in Orillia (a city a ninety minutes from here) visiting with my sister and doing some shopping.  Helen has come from England to see her son and family (think I told you this yesterday) and to help me celebrate my milestone birthday.  We wanted to have some time to chat and so, met for lunch.  We had a lovely time talking family stuff and other things.  It is always special when you can have some time with a family member and this is especially so when they live so far away. 
Helen gave me a nice bundle of English quilting cottons as well as a book with patterns and recipes.  I love the fabrics as they really do look English with the delicate colours and flowers. As an extra bonus, they all co ordinate.  Helen isn't a quilter but she does paint and do photography so she has an artists eye.  I am going to have to use them in a special quilt.
Just a short posting today.  I bottled the maple syrup after I got home so still need to do some cleaning before going to bed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spinning Blocks

This is my latest pattern to be for sale on my web page.  It is not there just yet but should be by tomorrow.  I expect to have another free block either today or tomorrow as well and a contest announcement.
Lots of action going on. 
A couple of months ago, I was considering applying for a government grant available to small business people who live in the north.  When I looked at the application, I saw it only applied to those whose job was full time and realized I didn't qualify.  Now, when I think of the hours I do put in on the designing, making etc., I believe I may have misjudged my time commitment. 
Of course, I can stop to do other things if I wish and sometimes I do.  Tomorrow, I am going to Orillia to meet my sister who is here from England to visit her son's family and help me celebrate my birthday.  We wanted to have a bit of time for ourselves and my husband needs me to be gone so he can make some of his preperations for the big party.
He is still busy making maple syrup although I think he is just about finished.  We are going to have a nice stash this year.  I am trying to show my appreciation for all the hard work he is doing by making special meals.
It does look as though the weather is going to be nice today.  The predictions change everytime you look at the weather map.  Not sure why we blame the weather reporters for that. I have to do out and do spring dog clean up so a bit of sun makes that task more pleasant.  Glad I don't have to do the same for the deer droppings!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sounds of Spring

Spring sure is having a hard time getting settled in, isn't it?  A lot of our snow has left but there are still large patches throughout the bush and in our yard.  The maritime provinces have had yet another snow storm.  Still, it is getting warmer.  I wore my shoes to church on Sunday and also to quilt group.  However, boots are still are necessity here in the backwoods until the mud has dried.  It isn't as bad as other years but still there.
On Saturday, I got to hear one of my favourite sounds of spring.  I hung  a few items of laundry; towels, nightwear on the clothes line.  I didn't expect them to dry but I was looking forward to them smelling of the outdoors once again.  As I moved the line along to add another item, it squeaked.  This is a sound which, to me, means spring. 
I like hearing the geese and song birds but a creaking clothes line means that it is warm enough to quit using the dryer.   When I took the clothes in just before supper, much to my surprise, they were dry.  And smelling wonderfully.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Saps a-Pourin'

This is the quilt I have been working on.  I have to add the half blocks and the border.  As you can see, it is quite colourful.  You might not be able to tell with the sections unsewn, but the blocks make a windmill pattern as well as a bowtie and a butterfly.
The pattern should be all done and ready for sale by the end of next week. It is a foundation pieced.
My husband has been out doing the maple syrup today.  The sap was flowing quickly this morning although it is tapering off now.  We might be coming to the end of the season but we are very pleased with our yield.  We should double what we did last year.  I have helped where I can-emptying the smaller containers, stirring sap, but mostly I do the lunch and thermos of tea.  Once the syrup comes into the house for bottling my real job starts.
Come on over for a cup of tea later next month and I will sweeten it with our own maple syrup.  Or perhaps you would like some on a bowl of ice cream.