Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A sweet Season

My husband is starting to get ready for maple syrup season.  We still have so much snow that the first step is to trample that down and make a trail so he can work.  Trees have to be measured to ensure they are big enough and then the tapping begins.  The sap isn't running yet but Roger thinks it may start next week.  He has to wait until the snow melts a bit otherwise if he taps and the melt happens, he may be standing on tippy toes to do the gathering.
Once everything starts, he is going to be very busy but he really enjoys it.  Each year he buys a few more supplies so the process gets a bit easier and we have more end product. 
I am baking tomorrow and, in addition to the bread, I am making a large stew, a casserole and some cookies.  I like to have a supply of food started so it is just a matter of heating up the food.  Our operation is small but it is still labour intensive.  I am also going in for day surgery next week so I would like to have some baking done before then. 
Now I guess I better get at the quilt I am trying to finish so I can get the pattern posted.  I also have a couple of articles to write and send but that will have to wait until Friday,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shopping Day

My husband got home late Sunday morning.  Both the dog and I were delighted to see him.  First thing to be done was get the television back in operation as I did something wrong.  I am not a big TV person but there is one music channel that I do like to have on.
We are back to normal again and today went to Huntsville to do our shopping.  I am glad we were able to fuel up as the news reports say that some areas are paying $140 per liter.  It cost us under $128.00 which is still outrageous.  Fuel is one of the few things that increases in price when more people buy it.  I don't understand the logic of that but I guess it doesn't matter because whether or not I understand, approve or think it is all a form of blackmail, there isn't a great deal I can do.  I am thankful I have fuel efficient vehicle and we try to combine trips to further reduce costs.
I worked on another of my scrap quilts at quilt group yesterday but now I don't think I like the designer's layout.  I am going to put the blocks on my design wall and see if I can come up with something that is a bit more pleasing. I finished my funky chicken block of the month and now have to wait until the first of March until the next one is posted. 
Off to the doctor's tomorrow for another pre op test.  Be glad when it is all over.  I took this photo a while ago just after a snow storm.  I think it is an interesting mix of silver trees and black clouds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Colour Contrasts.

We are getting another snow fall.  It seems as though it is going to be the type of grey day that even the most dedicated lover of winter finds discouraging.  As an antidote; just in case you are experiencing the same weather, I have posted a nice spring photo.  Birch trees has such a lovely airy appearance that it is impossible not to smile when you look at them.  We don't have many on our property but the ones we do are mostly amongst the evergreens on the other side of the pond.  The white branches stand out like a March break vacationer in Bermuda. My sister has quite a few on her property and this is one of them.
I think our nature demands some contrasts in colour to be happy.  I love black and white quilts but black and red are even more pleasing.
Most of Ontario seems to be getting some nasty weather so if you are on the roads, please be careful.  Remember that rushing may only get you into the ditch-or a collision-quicker than the person you passed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mail Day

My driveway got plowed out this morning so I went in to the village to get mail and a few things at the grocery store.  My mail box was full as I hadn't been in all week.  I got a bumper crop of magazines; my husband's farming one,  2 quilt ones and a Canadian magazine.  I also got 2 newspapers, a cheque and the usual assortment of bills.
This infrequent mail forays is another contrast between my previous urban life and now.  When we lived in Edmonton, I used to watch for the letter carrier every day and get miffed if she was late.  I liked living in an area where we got morning delivery so my wait was shorter. I used to look on the letter carrier as a daily Santa bringing me little surprises.  The fact that those surprises were usually bills or advertisements for stores where I wouldn't shop didn't seem to matter.
Now that we live here in the backwoods, I go to pick up the mail 2 or 3 times a week.  The odd thing about this decreased interest is that I get more parcels and, therefore, should be checking more frequently.  This is especially so as the greatest proportion of these parcels contain quilting supplies.
Of course, one of the main reasons I check the mail less frequently is that it is less convenient.  In the city, I only had to reach out my front door while here, I have to get dressed, explain to the dog that I am only going to be a few minutes, clean off the car (in the winter) and drive the 10 kilometers into the village.
I think, however, that the real reason that I am no longer a mail junkie is that it no longer has the same importance.  My life doesn't need anything to make it more interesting or enjoyable.  Packages are nice but not as enjoyable as waking up to the sound of a loon.  If we got mail delivery on our road, I probably would check each day but that would be more for exercise than the need to know what had arrived.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another Snowfall

The Beauty of Winter
It has been snowing since yesterday afternoon and, because it is fairly warm, it is the type that sticks to everything including the satellite dish.
I went out first thing to clean it off and had to wade through snow that came past my knees.  I wasn't able to get it all and more has accumulated since so I will leave it.  I am not that interested in watching television.
I have just finished all the other chores; feeding chickens, bring in and cleaning the eggs and filling the wood box.  These are usually the things my husband does but as he is at his mother's I have taken over.  I am going to spend the rest of the day inside quilting and drinking tea.  Our poor little dog is feeling quite abandoned with her 'Daddy' away and me being out the past three days.  As intelligent as they are, they simply don't understand that someone will be back soon.
Today would have been my mother's 98th birthday.  She passed away three years ago this August and I am still noting her special days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Signs of Spring

This should be my last busy day for this week.  Yesterday, I spent the day in the village helping with our first Family Day Funfest.  In Alberta, Ontario and some other provinces, this is a day off for most workers.  In theory, it is to be spent with the family. We had games, horse and sleigh ride, bonfire, food and fun.  the weather was superb and I am sure I got a good dose of vitamin D.
Today, I am off to Huntsville for a pre op test which should be fairly quick.  I need to buy some dog food and a couple of other things but I can't be away to long as our wee Heidi  will be running around with crossed legs.
My husband is away today taking his mother in for a regular treatment so I am doing chicken detail and getting in the wood myself.  I have always enjoyed being on my own but the last few years, I prefer my husband's presence.
When I went out to get the eggs, I notice the squirrels are more active and there are a lot more birds making themselves heard throughout the bush.  I am not sure if these are definite signs of spring but there are an indication it is getting closer.
If anyone is interested in reading more about my adventures here in the backwoods, I have a monthly column in the Quilt Pattern Magazine (  this is an on line magazine with a very reasonable subscription prize for which you receive 13 issues and access to the on line newsletter which includes chats, patterns etc.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where Did the Time Go

Computers, useful as they are, can be a great source of time fritterers.  I can sit down to do my e mail, branch off to check out a suggested web site or you tube video and surfacemuch later to discover an hour has passed. 
I used to spend a good bit of time playing a couple of computer games-Free Cell and Spider Solitaire but now I have also added jigsaw puzzles into my time.  I discovered a site that lets you choose from a list of puzzles and a myriad of shapes and piece numbers.  If I am busy, I will do the classic cut 48 piece.  If it is one of the 'picutes of the day' that I don't really like, I will use the 20 piece option.  Obviously, I don't have a personal 'just don't do it' option.
I really like the scenic ones and will often choose the most difficult cut and then do it again it a different one.  Dogs and cats are another favourite.
I sometimes wonder how I manage to get anything done in a day.  The solution to that is making lists.  I try to write down the things that have to be accomplished the next day.  I also try to give myself a challenge such as no puzzles until the housework is done. " Aww, Mom, none of the other retirees have to do that!"
So, here it it almost noon.  I have done a bit of housework, have started a loaf of pumpernickel bread in the bread maker for my husband.  I need to get the flowers put together for church so I can take them tomorrow and pick out another quilt to finish.  I did complete the one I was restoring yesterday so I am making head way.
The local committee I chair has organized a Family Day event for the community this Monday so I have a few extra things to get done this weekend. Tuesday I have to go to Huntsville for a medical test and another week will be off and running.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Surprise for Kitty

Surprised Kitty
This is one of the items I finished.  I made this wall hanging ages ago but never liked the quilting.  I finally picked it all out and redid it.  I am not sure you can see it in the photo; which isn't very good, but I have done a freehand vine all around the applique pieces. Check out the cat's left foot for a little surprise.
The scarf bow is a tube of fabric bound at the center point and stitched to the neck.  It just flops loose like a regular bow.
I have been out with my husband getting a lesson in caring for the chickens as that will be my job next week while he is busy with family stuff.   We are getting some more snow which is making it safer to walk.  A mild winter is nice but it usually results in a lot more icy driveways.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Batting Sale

I have had a number of people contact me for more information about the batting that was on sale.  The company, as mentioned, is Connecting Threads and the batting that I purchased is Hobbs heirloom Queen size.  Please remember that the sale ends on the 20th so if you are interested, don't delay. They also have thread, fabric, book etc.
I am making great progress in getting all my quilts finished.  I completed one quilt and 2 wall hangings so far.  The quilt only needed binding and I actually just serged around the edges.  I am giving it to a family member for their children to use as a floor blanket. It was one that I used to practise my frame quilting so it certainly wasn't decorative.
I have started the second block of my chicken block of the month.  It is applique and I am using the back basting method.  They are fun to do as I am using crazy colours and the pieces are all fairly large.
I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's.  I have two friends who also have birthdays on that day.
Back to the quilt pile.  I am going to do the binding on the one that I restored for a woman in the village next.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday a Day Late

Tuesday is my Monday.  Today is the day I tidy up from the weekend and catch up on the things I didn't have time for.  I generally get laundry done on Saturdays to take advantage of the cheaper hydro rates and do the major house work.  However, as I am out on Monday (quilt group) the beginning of the week stuff gets delayed a day.
Today, I have to change the speakers on my computer.  The current ones have quite working but, fortunately, I have others that I bought and didn't use.  The computer is saying that the audio is working so I am hoping that it is just the speakers.
I had printer problems earlier.  I was using it when I got a paper jam.  Fixed that, hooked everything up again and it wouldn't work.  Printer said it wasn't connected to the internet.  Checked the connections, everything was fine so I just left it for a day.  Monday, it worked without problem.  Sometimes I think all electronics are unionized and they just decide to go on strike for a while.
If you are in need of some batting, Connecting Threads has a really good sale.  Their queen sized batts are under $14.00 with very reasonable shipping price.  Sale ends on the 20th of this month so you might want to check it out right away.  I've ordered 4 and hope these will help me complete all the tops I have waiting to be quilted.
Do you and your special someone do anything special for Valentine's?  We don't.  I will probably stick a candle on the table for supper and am making apple crisp for dessert as that is my husband's favourite.  He is out chopping wood to keep us warm so I consider that a practical act of love.
He thought we should watch Ghost this evening but I prefer not to as I cry so hard I get a headache.  (Aren't I a romantic?!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Loose Ends

I feel like a ball of yard that has got too many ends and knots.  My radio station is off the air, the printer is telling me that it is not connected to the computer and my head feels like it belongs to someone else.  I took a pill last night to relax the muscles in my neck and it has over relaxed all of me.  I hate that feeling. It should be wearing off soon but, in the meantime, I don't want to do anything that requires thinking or dexterity.
We are getting some more snow which is covering up the ice in the driveway.  It is easier-and safer, walking when you can see where the non slippery bits are.
I have to go to Huntsville again today for another doctor's appointment.  I an going to buy Heidi a different kind of treat while I am there.  We always get her the natural nibblies from the bulk store but there is one kind that she doesn't like.  Of course, that is the one I bought last time.  My brother's two dogs will eat anything so they get all Heidi's cast offs. 
I have started working on another scrappy top.  This one is called Brick's and Stones and I got the pattern from one of the free sites-Fat Cat Patterns, I think.    The top I had been working on has joined all the others in my Finish Up or Else tote.  I am just waiting for the batting I order to arrive and then I can get at them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Organizing is Organized

Yesterday, I finished sorting through the last of my craft supplies and scraps.  Crafts and notions are now in labelled drawers and bins except for one container.  I am not sure what or where to put that stuff yet.  I guess I need a box marked Misc. for it.
My scraps have been sorted into two piles-strips and everything else.  All the strips were gathered together and put in a bag to be given to young woman I am teaching to quilt. No cries of horror please; I still have two other bins of sorted strips!
The other scraps are now going to be cut into bricks (3.5 X 6.5) and squares (5X5).  I am tired of doing strips although I do have a couple of IWTMT (I want to make that) patterns that use them.  I am sure I already have enough to make them.  If not, I can cut more.
In the midst of all this sorting, I have mislaid some border strips for a top I was finishing.  No, they aren't in the give away bag.  I checked that one first.  I think they may be in the tote of tops to be finished.  I put the fabric needed to complete each with them so the strips may have been included.
Quite a bit cooler here today but the sun is shining brilliantly.  I felt so housebound yesterday that I dashed outside for the afternoon walk and forgot my gloves.  It was warm enough that I didn't need them but I wasn't able to play 'chase the snowball' with the dog.
Getting a hair cut today and continue to work on the quilt room.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Husband's Talent

Sunsets Glow
Midnight Colour
Gnome Forest Visitor

Thought you might like to see some of my husband's work.  The gnome is a recent addition as he has only started carving since he got a work shed.  Norman (the gnome) is awaiting the arrival of his lady friend who is currently not quite herself and feeling a bit wooden.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Good Neighbours

With all the melting and refreezing we have had the past few weeks, our road and parking area was getting pretty slippery.  We were debating on going for a walk on Saturday and thinking that it was best to stay in where it was safe when we heard the sound of an engine.  It got louder until our neighbour showed up with his backhoe and a load of sand which he spread around for us.
We are very fortunate to have good neighbours.  We all watch out for each other and no one needs to ask twice for help.  Skills are traded as are utility trailers and other items. When you need to pay for a service, you get value for your money.  Or at least, we always have.  It is wise to do business that way especially in a small community.  Everyone knows who everyone is and if someone is good but pricey you will know about it.  The same is true if a person does shoddy work. 
We are also fortunate in having most services in this area even though there is a small population.  Some of the costs are higher because the stores don't have the advantage of bulk purchase pricing  but the difference is offset by the price of fuel.
Life is good.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I have some news to share.  I have mentioned over the past few months that I was writing articles for the Quilt Pattern Magazine (  The issue with my first article is now out.  After re reading my article, I looked through the rest of the magazine.  It is a quality publication.  Lots of articles, patterns, and free stuff-including a block of month which I have joined.  They also have a newsletter which you can check to get an idea of what the magazine in about.
I got another newsletter in my 'in box' this mornign and wish I hadn't read it.  The Quilting Gallery ( is running a series by Pat Sloan on getting your sewing area; whether kitchen table or special room, organized.  I do a periodic clean out, clean up but they usually end up with a give up.  There is one area, however, that I have purposely ignored.  The room's closet is the dark hole where things that have no other home get shoved-and I do mean shoved.  I guess I need to discover what is in there before I can do anything else.  Perhaps when I have cleaned that area, I may find that I have more room to store more stuff.  Do I have the courage, energy, desire?  I will let you know next week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Martin Or....?

We have a snow machine trail just north of our property which runs across the road.  I have often looked at it while taking the dog for a walk and thought how lovely it looked.  I was reluctant, however, to go on it on my own.  On Tuesday, when our little family went out for our exercise, I asked my husband if we could go on the trail.  (As it was a week day, I thought we would be unlikely to get in the way of the legitimate users).  We didn't go to far along it but, as it went through the bush, it was a lovely walk.  As we were looking at the various tracks, my husband spotted a small creature in a tree.  It had a tiny kitten-like face and was peering at us from behind a sturdy branch.
 We could only see its little face and weren't sure, at first, just what it was but we decided it was probably a martin.  Definitely not a fisher as they are larger and certainly not as cute.  We turned back at that point as we didn't want to stress the creature.  We looked back after a few steps and it was still sitting there watching us.
Another, less welcome sight, was the snow melting from the base of the trees.  That is an indication the sap is starting to flow.  We are hoping that the weather cools down for a few weeks as it is too early to start making maple syrup just now. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quilt Top Done

Scrappers Scrappy
Finished this top yesterday and have started the borders.  This quilt is another version of the Scrappers Scrappy that is on my web site. I changed the center slightly and purposely chose fabrics  that would make those blocks stand out.  I think it has made a very striking quilt.  The other borders are going to be  burgundy on either side of black.  I will be selling the completed quilt on my web site as well.
My husband says that his fingers will be famous around the world as he always has the job of holding the quilts so I can photograph them.
We just got back from a trip into the village where we got the mail, picked up a couple of items and went for lunch.  It was a nice treat to do that together.  I don't know why it is a treat to go to a restaurant for a meal and not when you have the same thing at home.  Well, I know why it is for the woman but my husband thinks it is also.
It is damp here in the backwoods today.  Some of the snow has melted and the driveway is slushy.  If the temperature drops I will have the skating rink I have been wanting.