Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who Let the Dog Out

I just got back from going for a walk with the dog.  I have a choice of three routes I can take and I try to alternate them as each has a different terrain.  If I follow the trail through our property, I have to walk slower because there are a lot of things that could cause me to trip.  Using this route, I believe, helps my balance.  If I go north on the road there are a lot of hills, whereas to the south it is easier so I go further and include a bit of running.
I haven't done the latter route for a while because I have been trying to build up my stamina but, today, that way was my choice.  It was nice to be able to walk at a good clip at least until the neighbour's dog came at us.  It is a large one but friendly so not a danger.  However, it kept dancing around Heidi and she kept trying to avoid it.  Not fun.  My repeated shouts to go home didn't make much difference but it did, eventually, go away.  Of course, we had to pass it again on the return trip.
I find it very annoying when people don't keep their dogs under control.  Obviously, this one was outside on its own.  It could have been hit by a vehicle.  I know the owner and he is a responsible person, a retired police officer, but has a blind spot as to his dog.
I always carry my cane with me in case there is a need to ward off something wild and waving it around often deters the tamer animals.  If necessary I could take a poke at a annoying dog but I hate to do it.  It isn't the dog that is at fault.
I shall probably have to avoid going in that direction although I shouldn't have to make the choice.  Life, no matter where you live, is never without problems.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Cover


8 Detailed Projects plus Recipes and Stories from
Anna Branch, the Back Woods Quilter
The book is now off to be proofread.  I am, despite illness and holiday preperations, on schedule.  It will be available as a download, payable through paypal.  You don't need to have an account with them to purchase the book.  I will make provisions for those who prefer to have it mailed because of internet speed.
Now I am going to try and not think about it for a bit and get some other work done.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trials and Triumphs

Just a few more days and we will be in the last month of the year.  It hardly seems possible that another year is about to slip into history.
How has 2012 been for you?  Did you reach some goals?  Celebrate a milestone?  I am sure some of you have gone through some difficult times and are glad to see the end of the year.  Others know their problem will continue on for some time.
Like you, we have had challenges and victories.  My husband's youngest sister was diagnosed with and then defeated cancer.  We have a friend who is, with faith and courage, continuing to fight the same disease.  Another friend has had to deal with a devastating family situation but, she too, continues to trust in God and know she will have the strength needed to keep going.
We also have had some family problems and don't see any immediate solutions but we continue to experience many blessings. 
My book completion is on schedule and should be ready within a week.  We both still enjoy good health and never a day goes past when we don't give thanks for living in such a wonderful place.  In a few weeks, we will be celebrating Christmas with my family.  This is the first time I have been able to do so since I was fifteen.  My Canadian brother won't be there but as he lives near by, we are able to visit often. Life is good.

Friday, November 23, 2012


We have had a heavy rainfall this morning and it is supposed to get steadily colder as the day goes on which is going to make for a nasty drive home for commuters.
I am snug in my backwoods rug with the stove going, gentle music on the radio and my Internet working.  We are planning on going to an area craft sale tomorrow if the roads are okay.  If not, we will stay home.
I finally figured out what I am going to do for the corner blocks on a pattern.  Seems a simple enough situation but because the border is pieced and the way the colours lined up, I just couldn't decide.  I finally picked one of the blocks from the pattern and used it.  Perfect. Often when I come up with a design, it seems so simple that I wonder if anyone will find it interesting enough to do.  However, when I start working out the details, I have the opposite reaction.  I hope to get this top done today and ready for the frame.  I also need to do some baking as my husband is running out of munchies.  Will probably do that this afternoon.
Is anyone taking advantage of the grey Thursday, black Friday or cyber Monday sales?  I looked at a few things on line but there wasn't anything that tempted me to spend.  Things I would like but not enough to put it on a credit card.  So, I guess I saved a lot of money!
My cactus plants are blooming.  This is the first time since we moved here and they are covered in beautiful red blooms.
Hope all is well in your part of your world.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Fowl Stories

If those of you living in other countries heard a loud cheer this morning, it wasn't because of a sports team wining a game.  We received e mail notification this morning that Craftsy is, once again, shipping to Canada.  They are one of my favourite souces of fabric and books as well as patterns (the few that I buy). I was disappointed when they decided not to ship north. 
Whatever the reason for the decision-monetary, probably-we are now able to once again spend our hard earned loonies (slang for a dollar coin) on their products.
It is gradually getting colder here in the backwoods.  We are having to feed the woodstove more frequently and bare arms aren't as comfortable.  It is still above freezing but that is supposed to change by the weekend.
We are starting to take care of the final details of our trip to England.  I am going to book a motel for the night before today and will be getting my dress for the wedding started on Monday.  I am taking advantage of the large table space at quilt group to cut the fabric.  After that, all we have to do is pack and show the lady who is going to be looking after the house and chickens where everything is.
Once this month is finished, I am sure the time will go quickly so I don't want to leave anything to the last minute.  Any available time has a habit of filling up in a twinkle.  And now I am going to have a look at the specials that Craftsy is promoting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Running Afowl.

It is a foggy day in the backwoods today but, thankfully, that is outside.  My head has cleared up as has all the flu symptoms and I am getting things done.  I have started editing my book so am on the home stretch for getting it published.  Still have a couple more patterns to do but one is almost finished.
I thought, yesterday that I might have to buy another printer.  I was part way through printing the book,  as I prefer reading on paper than a screen, and I got a paper jam.  Of course, I did what you are not to do and just pulled out the sheet.  It was intact so I thought I was alright.  Nope.  Spent the rest of the evening searching for non existent bits of paper.  I even disassembled some of the printer, used my little hand vacuum, wiped what I could see all without success.  While I was doing this, the ink cartridges didn't move from its position part way across the carriage.  I figured they were stuck and as I wasn't risking anything by 'encouraging' them.  I gave them a push, they moved and the error message went out.  Voila.
This morning I had to put everything back in place around the printer stand (I will really be glad when I have the extra room in my new studio) and finished the printing.
We have been having some problems with one of our chickens.  She keeps escaping the fenced in area.  She avoided detection the first time and spent the night outside which, if chicken are able to reason, should have cured her wandering problem.  It didn't, however, and Roger has been busy trying to find all her escape areas.  As she is one of the ones not laying at the moment, her days may be numbered!
Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers.  I have been getting Black Friday sales information on my computer all week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Flu?

Hope everyone had a good weekend.  My husband and I both had some sort of intestinal upset.  he was quite sick and in bed on Wednesday and Thursday.  I was feeling somewhat smug as I looked after him because I was healthy. We were scheduled to go to Orillia on Saturday to get our photos taken and, by Friday evening, it did look as though we would make it.  Not on Saturday.  I got sick.  Felt a bit better Sunday and then worse on Monday.  Today I think I am over it.  I hope.  I have a lot of work to do. 
That being the case, I hope you will understand if this is just a short note.  I am trying really hard to get my book ready for the beginning of December and I still have things to do for our trip to England.
By the way, here we nearly at the end of November, and I saw a robin yesterday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Retreat

It is still pretty dreary outside.  A spot of sunshine would be nice to add a bit of zip to the day.  However, a dreary day when you are retired and living your dream is still better than a sunny day working. 
There was a picture on the news this morning of a retreat and it showed this gorgeous view from a picture window where a man was lounging.  For a moment, I felt envious and then remembered, I have basically the same view from all my windows.
One of my favourite spots in my new quilt room is going to be my corner where I hand sew.  It will be my very own little retreat area.
My retreat Area

Even now, with the construction material all around, I like to go, sit on the rocker and just contemplate.

View from the Window

As you can see, the scene right now is pretty drab but it will be beautiful when we have a snowfall and, believe me, you will be getting to see the photos then.  You know what I am like with winter photography!
Another busy weekend ahead so I guess I better get started on my work.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Run Henny Penny.

My husband is feeling much better so I am able to get some more things done today.  I have been working on the last pattern for my book and will give you a peek.  It isn't finished but, as you can see, it is one of those pattern in a pattern ones. The photo doesn't really do it justice but as it is just a tiny peek, I guess that is okay.

Our wee Heidi was a bad dog yesterday.  I went out to gather eggs and put the chickens in for the night when I noticed one was missing.  The black hen is quite adventurous and I guess she decided it wasn't curfew time for her.  She came wandering by, Heidi saw her, she ran, Heidi ran and so did I.  I always put her (dog's) leash on even if we are staying in the yard and this is one of the reasons why.  I was able to step on the trailing lead; it is five feet long, and bring her to a halt.  I think she was just curious but she got a good scolding anyway.  We are trying to teach her to leave the hens alone but it will probably take a few lessons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Bit of This and That

It is a bit of a blah day.  My husband is in bed ill with the flu.  He is a bit better than yesterday but still not well enough to let him fend for himself.  I was supposed to go to Orillia and meet my sister for lunch but had to cancel.  She is here from England and I hate to miss the opportunity to see her but life is what it is.  We shall be at her place in just over a month so we can do catch up then.
I am doing a bit of sewing, a bit of quilting and a bit of writing today. I have cut out a blouse to make, want to sew up some pin cushion chickens to give as Christmas gifts.  I have got, monetarily anyway, rather addicted to them.  I also have to finish up my next article for the Quilt Pattern Magazine.  It is due on Tuesday.  I am almost finished that  Just have to add a bit more and do a rewrite.

Here are a couple of pictures to remind you of the summer.  I am looking forward to having snow covered ground to take away the dinginess but, until it happens, I will just look at my photos.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Little Chicken Fun

We had a fun day at our local quilt group yesterday making non-quilting things.  One of the ladies was going to show us how to make a snap closing bag and I was doing a session on making pin cushion chickens.
We decided to do the chickens first and that was as far as we got.  This group of creative ladies decided to put wings on their chickens which I hadn't done.  I had to-if you will forgive the really bad pun, wing it.  We stumbled and laughed our way through that part and on to the rest.  Counting myself, there were 8 ladies making the chickens and what a time it was.
There were a lot of false starts, many repeated instructions, suggestions (!) of alternative methods and, above all, laugher.  At the end of the session, everyone did complete a chicken and we made the decision to leave the bag until the following week.  The ladies then went on to try a few variations.
I've promised to write up a set of detailed instructions that will include photos and some of the variations.  I am going to try making one of white satin and lace.
We all found that making these things are addictive.
The craft sale on Saturday went fairly well.  I sold some of my things-including a number of chickens, as well as some of the quilt groups products.
My husband isn't feeling well today and is in bed.  I am hoping he doesn't have the flu as we are supposed to be going away tomorrow and Saturday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scrappy Pattern for You

I have had a busy morning.  I've made four quart jars of chili sauce, six 500 ml of jam and a huge pot of pumpkin carrot soup.  I want to make some cranberry chutney but that can wait for another day.
A friend sent me a link to a scrappy quilt pattern that I thought you might like.  The designer, Cindy Carter is providing it free of charge but please make sure you read her copyright instructions.
the link is:

My husband is doing some more work on the addition.  Things have pretty much stopped lately as I have been busy getting ready for a craft show, cooking etc and he has been hunting.  We still hope to have it done so I can more in before Christmas but life involves other things as well.
Hope you enjoy the pattern.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Small flock

I am making little pin cushion chickens.  A great way to use up bits and pieces of fabric.  Am also thawing tomatoes and fruit so I can make chili sauce and jam tomorrow.  That is two different recipes not some weird combination.
Took my car in to get the winter tires done this morning and am waiting for them to call so I can pick it up.  I find it hard to get into anything when I am waiting for someone/thing. 
My quilt room is an absolute mess again.  I had kept it tidy for a while and then I was looking for something and there are boxes and fabric all over the place.  Tidying that up might be a good thing to do while waiting for that phone call.
I really am looking forward to getting into my new quilt studio so I can have everything where I can see it.  Even though my various things are in labeled clear totes, I still have to root around trying to find the correct one and, if I am just looking for a piece of fabric that 'might' do, the rooting turns into a mess.  I know I shouldn't complain.  Many quilters have to sew on their kitchen table.  I really am fortunate.  I not only have a nice room but am getting a bigger one.  Even more important is that I am married to someone who supports what I do. (There now I feel better)
I hope, if you are American, that you took time to vote yesterday.  I recently watched a video that showed how really dreadful women were treated when they tried to get the right to vote.  I am afraid it is now another of those rights we take for granted.
A Small flock

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Melted Dessert

I got my maple leaf quilt back yesterday from the lady who did the quilting.  I am really pleased with it.  I just have to add the binding and that one will be done.  It will have to wait until next week though as I have some odds and end to make for our local craft fair.
I already have quite a few larger items so I want to do some pin cushions, bibs, aprons and a couple of fabric decorations.  I am going to get started right after I finish writing this as the sale is Saturday.
I don't much feel like doing it as I have had a headache all day.  Not sure if it is the weather or something else.
I saw a cardinal today when I was driving home from Huntsville.  a neighbour told me tha tthey  had had one in the bird feeder so I have been keeping any eye out.  I can't even remember when I last saw one.
I was a bit annoyed at the checkout person (actually more than 'a bit) where I got my groceries today.  I have a number of freezer bags that I always take as it is, at best, a half hour before I get home from the store.  I make a habit of always putting the freezer stuff on the counter first so it is easier for the staff person to pack.
I don't always see what they are doing, although I try to watch, as I am getting things on the  belt.  I did notice he was not doing a very good job of packing and, in fact, had to put some of the spare plastic bags I carry and he used into one of the larger fabric bags.  When I got home, I found that he had put dog food, celery and other items in a freezer bag and the ice cream, milk, etc. in a regular one.
I phoned the store to complain.  It had been 3 hours from the time I left the store until I got home as I had to do other shopping, go for my mammo and have lunch so you can imagine what happened to the ice cream.
The manager said he would replace anything that I thought had been harmed which I appreciated.  The ice cream was the only thing that suffered because, thankfully, it is cool today.  However, I really just wanted to make sure that the young man was was told that he actions weren't acceptable.
Now on to that sewing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

World's Best Soup

We arrived back from shopping a short time ago and noticed that the hydro had been out.  When I went into the studio, I saw that the computer monitor was blank.  Mini panic.  Turned everything off, back on.  Nothing.  Waited for an eon or two and there it was. I am so attached to my computer that losing it can send me into a bit of a tizzy.
I bought some backing fabric for my wedding quilt while in town and then picked up at parcel at the post office which contained more fabric so I have my material fix for a bit.  I have a pattern that needs to be made up as a sample so had to get the fabric for that.  Also bought more of the backing material that I am using in one of the hand applique projects because I was afraid I wouldn't have enough.  That happens to me frequently which, if I am doing a scrappy it isn't too much of a problem.  However, that rarely seems to be the time when I discover I need another few inches of a particular colour.
I mentioned to one of the ladies in group that I am, one day, going to pick out a pattern and buy all the fabric I need to make it.  She reminded me that as we often change our mind as to where we want a fabric to go that my plan probably still wouldn't work.  I guess I will stick with my usual habit of finding-or designing, a pattern that uses what I already have or mostly have.
I have a new favourite restaurant.  We had lunch at a place called The Farmer's Daughter in Huntsville and the food was fabulous.  I had mushroom soup and was angling for the recipe. Definitely a place that will get further business from me.

And Now It Starts

We had our first snow last night.  Warning for new readers!  This is the time of year when I go on and on about how much I love winter, how beautiful it is , how I love being outside on the crisp days, how I...well you get the idea.   This really is my favourite time of year.  I do try to give everyone a break a few times a week and talk about other things such as how cut my dog looks chasing the snow. 
I'm kidding about the last bit although she really does.  Quilting is still my main purpose for this blog so I do focus on that.  The latest edition of the Quilt Pattern Magazine came out yesterday.  This is an e mag and I have a monthly column.  I have been a writer for eons but it is still a thrill to see my words in print.  The quilt I used to illustrate the article is one that is in my book and I am glad to see it reproduced clearly.  When you are taking photos for e publications that will be printed, you have to be extra careful about crispness.  My book will be downloadable; first time doing that, so it is a 'learn as you go' process.
News reports show that conditions are still pretty difficult in the areas that were most affected by Sandy.  I know everyone is doing there best to restore hydro, provide shelter etc. but it must be scary for those living in the situation as the weather gets colder. 
I have made a huge pot of stew this morning and it is simmering on the wood stove.  I am going to spend the rest of the day working on a quilt top and the stories for the book. 
My sister arrives from England today to visit her son and his family.  I will be going to see them later on this month.
Stay safe.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Storms and Wild Animals

It has been a longer than normal length between posts.  On Tuesday, our hydro was out and then we had company.  Yesterday, we were away and, after we got home, I  forgot.
Hurricane Sandy has left such devastation and it is going to take years to recover.  I am thankful that there wasn't a great loss of life although if there was only one and that person was someone close to you, it is devastating.  We have have had two deaths in Ontario but many more in in other countries.  Rescuing continues as well as restoring hydro, transit systems and normalcy.
I can't help but wonder how many of those that needed rescuing from their homes were people who ignored warnings to evacuate.  Perhaps none of them but it does seem like there are always a few who feel they know better than experts and then depend on others to save them if they are wrong. 
This doesn't just happen during storm related disasters. I've seen the same pattern during thin ice warnings, approaching fires or signs telling the public not to feed wild animals.  Some people still refuse to use seat belts, put down their cell phones or avoid driving when intoxicated.
These folk insist they have the right to choose but when their choice puts others at risk they have made the wrong choice.
I have finally finished my maple leaf quilt top and it is being quilted as I write.  I am working on another top now as well as making a dress. 
My husband continues to make progress on the addition.  It is mostly the detail stuff now.  I am going to pick up some paint today to do the window trim and the ceiling boards.  Deer hunting starts next week so he will be taking a well deserved rest.
Hard to believe tomorrow is Friday already.