Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Appliqued Birds

Whew, I'm tired.  Just got back from doing a big shopping.  I was going to buy myself another cell phone as mine is pretty old.  However, if I did that, would also have had to get new chargers for house and car so I decided it wasn't worth it.  Mine works fine and I hardly use it anyway.  I was interested in getting one with a camera so if I saw something I wanted to capture, I would be able to do so.  I think I will just look for a small, cheap digital that I can keep in my purse.
Quilt from the North Bay Quilt Show

Isn't this a beautiful quilt.  I have paper pieced birds but not done any in applique.  One of the ladies in quilt group brought a book on Monday that I am going to order as it is all appliqued birds.  Who knows I may get all my 'likes' done while I can still hold a needle.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quilt Show

I don't usually do a post on the weekend but, here I am.  I went to a quilt show in North Bay yesterday with the ladies from our LQG  (Local quilt Group).  It was a well planned event with lots of well constructed and varied quilts.  I took a bunch of photos, bought some thread, fabric and ground walnut shells for pin cushions.  Afterwards, we all got together for lunch and then the ladies I was with went to Walmart where we picked up a few things.  When you live in a rural area, you take the opportunities presented to get to a store.
I bought the latest edition of Quilter's World.  If you haven't got a copy yet, it has a great article on batting and another on the process of making batik fabric.  I am also proud to be able to say that I 'know' the designer of the quilt on the cover.  Robin Waggoner, who is a very creative lady, belongs to the same on line group as I do and she reads my column. Robin is known for her ability to take a traditional block and update it with moder fabrics and setting.
It is almost time to get ready for church.  Looks as though we are going to have a nice day so we will be spending some time outside this afternoon.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Off to a Quilt Show

There seems to be a lot of traffic on our road today.  The few times I have looked up in time, it is to see a truck passing by so I don't know if some repair work is going on or whether a home owner is doing some construction.  I probably wouldn't be paying any attention but Heidi barks every time she hears the noise.
I am going to my first quilt show of the year tomorrow.  It is in North Bay which is less than an hour north of us.  I haven't been to this one before so am looking forward to seeing what it is like.  I know the quilt shop in Huntsville will be there.
Most of the quilt shows in our area are not annual events.  A few communities alternate with another one in the vicinity.  Others seem sporadic but there is probably a set rotation time. If you live in a heavily populated area, you probably have access to a number of shows within an hours drive.  We do have quite a number of events but have to cover a couple hundred kilometers-one way. 

I have been working on my next book today as well as finishing up an article for the Quilter's Connection magazine.  As I was sitting down to write this, I suddenly remembered that I haven't done the flowers for church yet.  I better get at them and take them over.
My husband is out playing euchre and is going to bring home supper so I don't have to worry about that.

Have you taken a look at the information about my quilt book yet?  It is on my web site:  www.arkangelcreations.net.  It is available as a download or printed form.
There are still a few copies available at the introductory price which means you can get 8 patterns for slightly more than the cost of one!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Maple Syrup Baking

Apr. 24th Snowfall
Isn't this a lovely winter photo.  Oh, right, I took the picture this morning, April 25th!
It did look pretty outside but I am afraid I prefer the bare dirt driveway that I can see when I look out the window now.
I just finished making five small loves of pumpkin bread and 5 regular sized whole wheat.  I used maple syrup in place of some of the sugar so I am anxious to see if there is a difference in the taste. I had to do some adjustment in the liquid amount in the directions which was easier in the whole wheat bread.  The pumpkin doesn't have any moisture other than what is provided by the pumpkin and eggs.  As I used fresh (from the freezer) pumpkin and as it isn't as wet as canned I thought I was safe to put in a bit of maple syrup. The consistency seemed right when I put it in the pans so I will see how it tastes.
I am going to do some practice runs on my frame and machine today.  I got it all clear of stuff last night (Now I need to find a place for the odds and ends which don't seem to fit anywhere) and checked to make sure it was level so I think it should be okay to go.
I am trying not to look at all the stuff in the studio that still needs to find a permanent home. I still need more storage cabinets so that will be my excuse for a bit longer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Potting Around

If you read my blog on a mobile device, you should notice a difference.  I have changed the settings so you get an imagine that is sized to be read on mobiles.  I would appreciate some feed back if you do use one of these devices.  I have no experience with them so am trying to be as up to date as my greying hair permits.  I am thinking about another change to my blog.  I might start posting on the weekends.  It might just be a photo with a comment but I know that some of you make a habit of reading each day and have mentioned they miss being able to do so on my extended weekend.  I do appreciate the faithfulness and support of my readers so I will see what I can come up with by this weekend.  No promises but I will try.
I got the batteries for my camera yesterday and took a photo of the fabrics that I mentioned.  They are, as you can see, from the same designer so all work together nicely.  (My sister has good fabric sense-as well as in many other areas)
I have trimmed 2 1/2" from one side to make them rectangles and will use the strips in the border.  That is as far as I have got in my thought so far.

I am planning on getting my frame ready to use today.  It has been serving as a place to pile things at the moment.  However, I have been getting the itch to get some of my tops quilted.  I will need to make sure the frame is balanced and straight after the move from old studio to new. I have a small project to finish this morning and then I can get at that.
It is raining, as predicted today, so I can work all day in the studio without feeling guilty about not being outside.  As a bonus, my husband is in Huntsville buying tires for the car and other odds and ends so I don't have to make lunch.  We usually fend for ourselves (his phrase) but I am more likely to stop and eat if he is here.
I up potted some plants this morning.  Messy job but I can hear the sigh of relief from the plants.  I think I may need to set up a potting area in my husband work shed.  Shh, don't tell him.  I will have to bake something first and then let him know.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Do any of your projects start like this?  I have three dozen large pieces of fabric spread out on my design wall and a couple of sashing width bits laying over them.  I have an idea and need to see what colour would be best to join everything together.  I have had these fabrics which were ten inch pre cuts for a while and, as they were a gift from my sister, wanted to use them for a special project.  I was going to take a photo to show them all displayed in their glory but my camera batteries are dead.  Another thing to go on the list for my shopping trip  tomorrow.
I have the binding to sew on one quilt and border to finish on another and then I can start work on my idea for those fabrics.  I will show you what I've come up with once I get those batteries.
Today we are celebrating the arrival of spring by starting the cutting of trees for winter wood.  My role is to make sure that my husband is still alive when I hear a tree come down.  This is accomplished by looking in the direction of the crash and hollering "are you still alive?"  An affirmative answer means I can go back to quilting.  No answer requires further investigation.
The first tree was quite close to the house so I went out to help hammer in the wedges that are designed to keep the chainsaw from getting stuck.  I also try to offer encouraging comments and pray for strong gusts of wind that will topple the giant in the correct direction.  It did finally come down with a satisfying thump.  Heidi barked her approval and, as the house was still standing, I went inside and made tea.  My part of the effort was finished.
I have noticed that huge eighty foot giants with a girth large enough to house a small family will snap like a tooth pick in a windstorm.  However, a small sapling that would cause a beaver to sneer will resist the onslaught of ax, chainsaw and strong language.  If it does fall, it will tangle its uppermost branches with those of another tree and hang there giggling.
It is times like that that I am sure my husband thinks fondly of electric heating.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Whence Now the Daffodil

I have just discovered an amazing new blog.  It contains more information than you can possibly read at one sitting but the things in which I was most interested was her recycling ideas.  Check it out at: http.sewmanyways.blogspot.com.  Let me know what you think.
I have been watching the news this morning about the latest developments on the  Boston Marathon terrorists.  The one thing that strikes me when I read of these events is how the families of the terrorists must feel.  Your child that you raised with all the hopes and dreams of them becoming a person that contributed to society in a positive way, perhaps giving you grandchildren, doing volunteer work etc.  turns out to be one of the most despicable people that anyone could imagine.
I am not placing those with a mental illness in this category. They are, themselves, victims.  But people who knowingly plan to kill or maim as many people as possible for some warped ideology, are beyond sympathy.
I would imagine that anyone who is contemplating similar actions would be deterred by the reaction of all law enforcement agencies to this case.  Of course, I am expedient logical thought and terrorists might be beyond that.

My husband is not feeling well today.  I am not sure if he has a cold or an allergic reaction to something but he is coughing and sneezing.  time of lots of liquids and staying away from his loving but 'I don't want what you have' wife.

I want to go out later and uncover my roses as I think it is safe.  The  hyacinth and daffodil bulbs are sending up shoots all over the place so I think I can declare that Spring Is Here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Small Blessings of Life

We have been getting a bit of a thunder storm, nothing spectacular, mostly rain.  Nevertheless, the hydro went out.  It was only for a couple of hours and now the sun is shining.  I have to laugh when I phone the outage line and the recording says "we are experiencing a higher than average number of calls from your area and are checking to see what the problem is"  Duh, might it be an outage!

While we were sans power, I did some work on my appliqued wall hanging.  It is about half quilted now and the stitching looks acceptable when I check the back.  It is surprising how relaxing it is just sitting and stitching.

We bottled some of our maple syrup today.  A sticky, tiring job and we only have about half it done.  Some of it will be sold and the rest we keep for baking and putting on pancakes.  I can feel the calories adding up already but it is nice to have such bounty without cost-other than my husband's time and perspiration.

Speaking of blessings, I read the following comments yesterday from a person who is in an institution and recently was moved to an area with more privileges.  I have deleted any comments that would be identifying in order to respect the privacy of the writer.

"I just came back from a 40 minute walk outside with a staff! Can you imagine the freedom! I haven't been outside for a long walk in almost one year. Beautiful grounds here... the lake looks like an ocean, countless trees, benches, dogwood bushes... many people walking their dogs or with their children... It was quite uplifting.

It's the little things in life that matter - like having a full size toothbrush so that the spit doesn't run down your arm like it did with the little toothbrushes we had before  Also, having metal cutlery instead of plastic. Being able to have food and beverages in your room (although there is a corresponding ant problem on the unit). Having toiletries in my room so I don't have to ask for them or wait for staff to have the time to retrieve them. Having access to the linen closet and washer and dryer anytime I want. Being able to open letters in privacy instead of in front of staff. These are trivial but very nice improvements."

How often we complain about minor things or, worse, overlook the every day blessings we have.  Since ready the comments, I have tried to be more aware of how fortunate I am.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Chickens are Out.

I was saddened to hear that Rita MacNeil had passed away.  I liked both her music and her style.  She was a gutsy lady.
Roger is finishing up the maple syrup today.  He put in a long session yesterday and, I think, is bringing it to an end more out of fatigue than lack of syrup.  It is a lot of work for one person using buckets and an open fire.  A evaporator makes the process faster but I think you can taste the difference. He wanted to work through supper last night but I sent him back to the house for a break and to eat while I tended the syrup.  All I had to do was stand there and add more sap as necessary.  Not labour intensive but boring.  I did have a chipmunk almost run over my foot, stop, realize where it was and dash off which was humorous.
Our little flock of chickens are outside in the run today enjoying the sunshine.  The rooster is a beautiful bird.
I noticed that we have little flowers  making an appearance in the perennial garden.  I am looking forward to seeing the daffodils and hyacinths as I planted quite a few more last year.
On the quilting front, I only have a a few more blocks to sew and then I can put the rows together on a top I have been working on intermittently over the past weeks.  I bought some more fabric as I thought I was going to run out but didn't need it.
I haven't decided what I am going to do for the borders yet.  The top is square so I want to add something on each  of two opposite sides to turn it into a rectangle.  Think think.  Might be a good opportunity to do some flying geese which I always avoid but I am leaning toward something appliqued.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Flock of Robins.

Like many people, I watched the horror of the bombing in Boston yesterday.  I cannot fathom how anyone can feel any sense of satisfaction or victory over the killing and injury of innocent people.  The criminals will be caught and then they will be tried using the same principles of justice that they were trying to destroy.  If the criminals don't feel they are being treated justly, they will scream to the media and anyone else who will give them a few minutes.  And they have every right to do so.

On a more pleasant and saner note, we had a large flocks of robins in our yard this morning.  I can't remember ever seeing such a numerous group before.  They were taking advantage of a snow free patch of damp ground to search for food.  I am not sure how successful they were as a hawk sent them all scurrying for the safety of the evergreen trees.

We had quite a rain last night so the level of the snow has lessened considerably.  There are bare patches all through the bush.  Our temperature is already up to 6 C even though it is still raining.  Could this be spring?

I am going to be putting the binding on a quilt for a fundraiser today and, perhaps, do a bit of organizing.  I also would like to make a few more blocks of another quilt I am doing.  There always seems to be lots to do, isn't there.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Crazy Quilt Blocks

I am not sure how long I will have Internet today as there are storms all around us.  We just have rain and that seems to be stopped at the moment.
I am in the midst of printing some copies of my book and writing my magazine article for the Quilt Pattern Magazine.  Women always multi task, don't they.
The rye bread I made yesterday was a success.  My husband has already eaten most of one loaf.  This was a new recipe for me as I previously used the bread maker for anything other than our regular whole wheat bread.  Now I am thinking of trying a few more varieties i.e. oatmeal, sourdough. The problem with this as with all foods is that you eat it and then you've added a few more calories to your diet. I think that if nature were kind, all home made foods would have zero calories!

I came across an interesting pattern on Wednesday. It is on a blog so I don't think I am breaking any privacy or copyright laws by giving you the link.  Check out the baby blankets on http://cheftigerskitchen.blogspot.com site.  I was particularly taken with the one using crazy quilt blocks.  An innovative idea. 
Have a safe and warm weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Clutch of Hens.

A Colourful Flock

This quilt top of appliqued blocks is my main project.  I have two more blocks to do, finish adding the bases that the birds sit/stand on, the eyes and then decidewhat I want to use for sashing.  I have just started the eithth block.  This will hang in the hallway of our home when finished.

I have decided to make a printed copy of my book available as I have had so many requests for one.  It will be autographed if desired.  Details are on my web.

This is my baking day and I have just finished 7 loves of bread; 3 rye, 4 whole wheat, and 6 dozen cookies.  Now I have to decide what to get for supper.  Leftovers, I think.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh, Spring, Where art Thou?

Block 4, Vintage Tiles BOM

Now that the book is done, I have time to get back at my quilting again.  I should have ironed this block before taking the picture as the hearts look a little wonky.  I am going to finish the appliqued chicken wall hanging I am doing for my husband before I get back at the Vintage Tiles.  I am also working on a pieced top which is another of my designs.  I am pleased with how it looks so I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
If you haven't heard about my book yet, it consists of my pattern designs and some stories of my life here in the back woods.  You can check it out (and order) on my web site: www.arkangelcreations.net.  There is a special price for the first 25 orders so let me know if you are interested and I will let you know if you qualify.
I got my hair permed today.  My hairdresser doesn't make much money on me as I only need one, at the most, every seven or eight months.   I hate the smell of the chemicals used in making your hair stay curly for a number of months.  It is another of those things that I thought would have improved over the years.
We are, unbelievably, expecting more snow in our area of the large province of Ontario.  In the south, they have a weather warning because freezing rain is predicted.  I keep telling myself that it will end soon.  My perennial garden is snow free so I may see some shoots pushing through soon.  Last year sure spoiled us, didn't it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Creative Walk

What makes you feel creative?  If you get in a quilting or writing slump, what inspires you?  There are a number of things that I will use as triggers to make the right side of my brain get busy.
As a writer, I have a list of story ideas, thoughts and quotes that I keep in a folder on my computer.  If I am stuck for a story or column idea, I can open it and often find something that will trigger an inspiration.  Reading someone elses work whether a book or shorter will not only give me ideas but put me in the mood to write.
You might question how a person could be in a quilting slump but it does happen.  Or at least, it does to me.  Unlike writer's block, I do have lots of quilting ideas and projects but I just can't seem to get started.  The sewing machine sits gathering dust.  My tools lay on the cutting table waiting to, once again, feel the warmth of human touch. 
When I find that I just can't summon the energy to think about sewing one stitch, I go for a walk.  I prefer wandering through our bush to taking the road. Here I can look at the tree bark, various fungi, the tiny flowers if the season is right, and the shapes of the many large rocks that are everywhere.  At the pond, if I sit quietly, I might see the blue heron or a loon.  The sun shimmering across the water turns the surface into crystals while, closer to the shore line, the dark shadows promise secrets that are waiting to be discovered.
Each season brings different discoveries but all are accompanied by bird song and the wind song in the tree branches.  Our bush, except in the fall, is a place of softness; grey tree trunks, pale flowers, marshmallow snow.  If you let the feeling seep into your mind, you not only feel refreshed and relaxed but more aware of who you are. The feeling accompanies you back home and stays with you long enough for you/me to see the unfinished projects with new eyes.  Just as the bush is full of creativity, so is your mind. 
The machine is turned on and the pleasure of turning fabric into art is once more a joy.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It Does That?

Can you believe that we are half way through April and it is still snowing?  It is just a light scattering of tiny flakes but, nevertheless, it is snow.
I am having writer withdrawals this morning.  I spent so much time working on the book that, now it is done, I feel like a lonely pea rattling around in an empty pod. Once it warms up a bit, I will get at finishing some quilting projects and I do have get another article sent to the Quilt Pattern Magazine.  I do a column for them every month. 
Are you a blogger?  If so, you should check out this free book: linkyblog.com.  You will find it especially helpful if you use your blog to promote a product or service.  Writer Brent Riggs is very supportive and I found his information on formatting, publishing for Kindle and promotion helpful. 
I found features on Microsoft Word that I didn't know existed.  Still trying to see if they have the symbol for 'inch' rather than using the quotation one which is harder to see.  I have an old version of Word so it might not be there.
It really does pay to become familiar with all the features of your various programs.  Most of us only use a small portion.  It is the same with our cell phones, cameras and all the other tools we own.  We pay to get the latest of something and then don't use the features.
Sewing machine options are another item that we don't utilize.  Generally we/I sew forward, backwards, needle up and down, buttonhole (maybe) and stretch (zigzag) stitch.  And yet, we purchase a machine that will sew a gazzillion stitches.  I am not sure if it is lack of time or confidence that makes us like this but it is a common trait.
Perhaps we should all make a resolution to learn something new about our gadgets each day.  Having said that, I am going to explore some more features on Word.  That inch symbol has to be somewhere.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


My book is completely finished and on my web site ready for purchasing.  You can get in early on the special purchase price as it has been advertised as being for sale tomorrow.A copy has been sent to the editor of the quilt magazine for whom I write and, if they like it, I will get a promo.  All this is quite scary which may sound strange but, when you have worked on something for a long time and it is now open to public scrutiny, it is nerve wracking.  The feeling has often been described as putting your child on show and hoping no-one starts snickering.
Now that the book is done, I can get back to other things.  Today, I am helping to make decorations for a wedding that will be held at our church.  I have done a bit of catch up on my house work-thank goodness for an understanding husband.  I have a quilt to finish as it is part of a donation for a local fundraiser.  Perhaps I can do that tomorrow while my husband is at his euchre game in the village.
Our temperature is gradually inching upwards.  It is plus two Celsius now but the wind is still quite cool. I just took a peek out the window and everything is blowing around so, while that will help get rid of the snow, it doesn't make it pleasant for going outside.
I know spring will arrive eventually.  It always does.  Then I will start complaining about the heat and black flies.\

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring is Still Hiding.

It still isn't warming up very much here although it does look better for next week.
Have you checked out my quilting book.  It is on my web site:  arkangelcreations.net.
The first 25 buyers will receive a huge discount.  The regular price is 14.95 but if you are amonst the first 25, your price will be 9.95.  That is the price of one pattern!
All the details will be on my web on Friday.

We took a trip to Huntsville today as I needed to have a prescription filled.  Did all the shopping and was almost home when I realized that I had forgotton the prescription.  Somedays I need more than a string around my finger to remember things!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Books and Bunny Dogs

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.  Our weather was quite warm. So much so that I left my coat at church and didn't realize it until Monday when I was getting ready for quilt group.  By then, the temperature had dropped once again and it was snowing.
Our maple syrup is doing really well.  The sugar content is higher than in previous years, apparently because the trees got stressed last year.
My quilt book will be ready for sale by Friday.  You can get a preview on my web site.  There will be a special discount for the first 25 buyers so stay tuned.

Poor Heidi

Our poor dog!  It isn't much fun being owned by someone who likes to take photos.  She did get rewarded with a nice piece of bacon!