Friday, May 31, 2013

A New Contest

Wow, what a response to my ad in the paper announcing my fabric giveaway.  I had phone calls and e mails galore.  A local lady (we have a mutual friend which is normal in this area) arrived and took the majority of the boxes.  It is going to a lady who will use it for a charity.  I do have some left that I want to take to the quilt group to go through and then it will be going out the door.  It is nice to know that someone can use all the material that I can't.  I am sure the original owner would be pleased also.
I had an odd thing happen yesterday.  I was just finishing up writing a pattern and wanted to include a tutorial.  I had forgotten the formula for the procedure and, rather than go through my stuff, I did a Google search.  When I clicked on one of the replies, my blog page appeared!  I went back and looked at the link and, sure enough, it was my own!
My page didn't have the info I wanted but it is nice to know that my blog and web site get used often enough to be on the first reply page of a search.

I think it is about time I had another contest and give away.
To enter: post a comment telling me what you like about the blog and what you would like to see: more free patterns, more stories about the back woods etc.
The winner will receive a free copy of my book or, if they already have it, a copy of one of my patterns.
Contest closes on June 15th.  Good luck

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A New Toy

New Toy

I have a new toy.  I got this little steam/dry travel iron at a consignment shop in the village.  Roger and I saw it last week but I didn't have the money with me  then to get it.  I dropped in today and it was still there.  Hurray.  I took the picture beside the regular sized iron so you can see the difference.  It is very light weight, heats up quickly, has a large water reservoir and its own carry bag.  It will be perfect to keep beside my sewing machine for the little touch up jobs and to take to quilt groups as well as retreats.   Best of all, it was only $10.00. It is made by Proctor -Silas if you would like to see if it is still being made.
I had planned on spending the day baking but my neck is too sore.  I guess the drive yesterday is to blame.   So, I am going to do quilting/writing stuff today and, if I am better tomorrow, I will bake then.
It is such a frustration to have my activities limited like this.  Still, it could be worse.  I am mobile.  I can see, hear and speak and am still independent.  A stiff and sore neck is very little in comparison to what I could have.
I always think it is better to count my blessings rather than get bogged down by circumstances.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fabric and More Fabric

I have just finished sorting through the last load of donated fabric and quilting stuff.  If anyone lives near me-or wants to go for a drive, I am giving away what I don't want!
There are some old cardboard templates that are used for marking a quilt before stitching in amongst the stuff.
We had a nice day shopping.  I picked up the foot for my machine, got it installed and tested-at least until the bobbin thread ran out. Although rain was predicted, we didn't get any for which I am thankful.  Not pleasant being in and out of the car when it is pouring.  Nor is it nice driving in an unfamiliar area when the conditions aren't good.
As always, we were glad to be home and are now enjoying a quiet evening.  Little Heidi stayed with my husband's sister and mother while we shopped.  She really loves her 'grandmother' but was still overjoyed when we came back for her. 
Tomorrow baking and more work on the quilt top.  I should be able to get it finished and ready for the binding by the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I had to go to Huntsville today for my bone density test.  It was just a check up, no previous problems.  While I was in the town, I dropped in to the local quilt store to pick us a marking pencil for a couple of the ladies in our quilt group.  I also took the opportunity to show them a couple of patterns to see if they might be interested in carrying them.  They really liked the one.  I got an order for ten patterns and a request to teach it as a course. Yay. 
Small steps but going in the correct direction.
Tomorrow, we are heading south to pick up a foot for my frame machine and will be stopping in Orillia to visit my Mom-in-law on the way back.  I will also stop in at the quilt store to see if they too would  be interested in my patterns.
I have got my quilts (singular, at the moment) on the Quilts for Sale web site.  There is a link on the right side of this page.
The black flies are dreadful.  I saw a group of them carrying off a small animal yesterday.  Just joking, of course, but they are thick. Once it really warms up, they will be gone.  In the meantime, we get everything done early and then stay in. Or, go for a drive somewhere.  My husband is feeling housebound and is anxious to get at his work.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Musings

A bit nicer today although we had frost over night.  I just got back from a trip to the village.  The Chamber of Commerce had their first Business Expo and Craft fair.  Lots of good stuff.  One vendor had some lovely necklaces for $5.00.  They have big, chunky jewels on them which are great for larger person.  I am going to drop into the store next week and get at least one. The store owner, Carolyn, is a real community booster which is always nice to see.
I've got the first couple of rows done on my new quilt but the thread keeps breaking so I am going to have to find that problem before going any further.  Perhaps the tension is to tight.
I have my patterns ready to take to the quilt store on Tuesday.  I am hoping they will carry them.  I find that local stores are very supportive of area artists as those artists, in turn, support them.
Hope you are having a nice weekend.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Poor Hummer

It certainly has been a cold, wet spring, hasn't it?  Our temperature dropped to zero yesterday evening and we had light snow flurries.  Roger noticed this tiny male hummingbird sitting on the feeder outside one of our windows.  It stayed there for a long time just moving its little head slowly from side to side.  I was really afraid it would freeze to death.  I would have opened the window to let some of the warmth out but was afraid the movement would scare it away. 
It was gone when I check before going to bed and I was sure it had fallen to the ground.  However, this morning, Roger told me that it was back.
Little Hummer

The photo isn't very clear as I took it through the window and at an angle as I didn't want to startle it.
I loaded a new quilt onto my frame last night.  I am going to quilt it in a simple leaf pattern.  But, before I do anything else today, I have to get a quilt photo uploaded to the Quilts for Sale site and take care of the bits and pieces involved with that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oh, No!

I finished writing up the runner pattern yesterday and will be taking it to the quilt store in Huntsville on Tuesday along with the other pattern to see if they would like to carry it.
The runner is foundation pieced and I have included a lot of 'how to' photos.  I am going to be using them as part of a tutorial on my web site.
Today, as usual with Thursday, is baking day.  I have to go to a lunch meeting so am trying to fit everything around that.  I am hoping the bread co-operates and I can get it into the pans before I leave.
I discovered something unusual last night.  My husband and I are both avid readers (although my time is limited) but I didn't realize that our little dog had been learning from us.
What Did That Say?

Oh, no! the price of dog food is going up.  I hope I don't have to take on another job.
I will have to be careful when leaving reading material around.  I wouldn't want her to think she could drive a car next.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Completed List

I made a list of things to get done today and have completed all but one thing.  It makes me feel as though I have had a worthwhile day when that happens.  Even if I only put one thing on the list and get it done, I'm happy.
I have couple of ladies over looking at the fabric that was given to me.  They are taking what they can use.  I am sure I will still have two of three boxes left.  It seems a shame to think that a person who might need it won't know I have it. However, I can't keep it forever.
I have signed up to sell my completed quilts on the Quilts for Sale website.  They are another thing that need to find a home and there aren't any markets here.  The on line site is well run, organized and promoted so it is well worth the small commission it charges.
I finished the quilt that was on my frame and now I have another to get ready to be loaded.  I am really looking forward to getting this next one completed.  I think it is going to be one of my favourite patterns. Here is a sneak peak of the pattern.
The Back Woods Quilter Pattern

I have made it in red, black, pale mauve and a light blue.  The light colours give it a dimensional look. I will post the completed quilt once it is quilted.  Haven't decided what stitch pattern to use yet.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Victoria Day Weekend

Another day is slipping past.  I hope all that were celebrating a long weekend had a safe and happy time.  We ended yesterday with a thunderstorm and our hydro went out briefly during the night.  We continued to get heavy rainfall throughout the day but not as bad as in some areas.
We had company for the weekend and had an enjoyable visit with them.  On Saturday, the four of us plus Heidi went for a drive to see the areas where my husband's father's family lived.  The weather was lovely although the black flies prevented us from spend more than a few quick minutes outside.  We made a few stops to take photos as Roger's uncle is an accomplished artist.
I have managed to still keep my quilt room tidy.  The task has been made easier by me spending most of my time on the computer rather than the sewing machine.  I have been getting the last pattern ready to sell in the quilt stores.

These are two of the photos I took. It was hard to get a good image because of the sun angle.  I may go back and redo a couple of them.
Tree by the Falls                               



Abandoned House by a Stream


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Victoria Day Saturday

Happy Victoria Day Weekend.  The weather is lovely and the bugs not too voracious.  We are expecting company tomorrow for a couple of days so I am making a huge stew.  I have planted some more tomatoes and broccoli, done the laundry and done a bit of writing.
My husband and I went into the village after lunch and wandered around for a bit.  For some reason, it seems as thought we rarely have time to window shop in our nearest community.  To be perfectly honest, I rarely window shop anywhere except on line.  Don't have the patience for it.
This photo is a reminder of what we so recently were experiencing.

Happy Holidays.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A China Mug, a Pot of Tea and Thou

I don't know precisely why, but some mornings seem more special than others.  Or perhaps we just make them so.  I took Heidi for her walk this morning and got all the other routine things finished including unloading the clean and reloading the dishwasher with the dirty.  I have now made a pot of tea and am sitting at my computer with my favourite china mug.  The latter is probably why today feels different.  My tea is usually a bag popped into a regular mug.  I really do like having it in a pot.  Perhaps I will make a little mug and pot mat set to keep by my computer or sewing machine.  That would be a lovely touch of luxury. 
This is my writing day and I am planning on getting my magazine article done as well as writing up a pattern that will be sold, hopefully, in area quilt stores.  Heidi's groomer is coming to pick her up shortly and my husband goes to play cards in the afternoon so I will have a nice quiet day to get things done.
I just have to stay motivated.  That is always the hardest part.

I have been having a lot of neck pain this week and I suspect that it is because I am working on the frame machine.  As I am in relearning mode, I am not keeping my shoulders relaxed.  I only did part of a row yesterday.  It is frustrating not to be able to get the quilt finished as there is only a couple more rows to do. 

Today many people will be on the highways heading for cottage country.  Those of us who live here year round will be glad to welcome them back to the area we enjoy every day.  The village main street will, no doubt, be bustling tomorrow as people come for their supplies. I enjoy seeing the activity although it is odd to have to search for a parking space.
If you are travelling, please be careful.  This weekend is usually the one that results in the most traffic fatalities.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Neck Problems

I had a disturbing call today.  There was a message on my credit card  on line account asking me to call them.  When I did, it was to find out that there was a couple of fraudulent charges.  They hadn't paid them for which I was thankful.  I deal with Capitol One at the Bank of Montreal and I highly recommend them for security.  I have my account set up so I am notified if there are any purchases over a certain amount.  I always know what is happening with my balance, purchases and payments.

I recently came across a couple of links you may find interesting.  They are both quilt related and very well done.  the first is from Generations Quilt patterns. Her video link is:  
The Crafty Gemini also has a really good video:

It appears that we are going to have a good weekend for weather so I am planning on getting the last of my garden in.  I picked up a couple packs of broccoli and have more beet and cucumber seeds to get in.  I am a little reluctant to plant the tomatoes just yet.  I think I will give them until the end of the week.
I wasn't able to do any sewing on my frame today as my neck was too sore.  Sometimes it is bad enough that I can barely turn it.  This is a result of having my car rear ended seven years ago.  My lawyer is still trying to get me a reasonable settlement.
I think the frame sewing bothers me because I have my head tilted to one side so I can watch the laser.  Probably need to have the table higher but won't be able to do that until I get the new base.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Higher Number of Calls

I was planning on getting quite a bit of work done on my second book today.  I went for my walk, had breakfast and watched the news so all the routine stuff was finished.  Just as I sat down at the computer, the hydro went out.  Rats!
I had a book that I picked up at the library yesterday so sat down to read it for a bit.  After a half hour or so, I decided to phone to see if the company had an estimate as to when our power would be restored.  I always get a kick out of their voice mail message.  Keep in mind that I am calling a special number to report a power outage, this is the beginning of the message: "we are experiencing a higher number of calls than usual from your calling area and are checking to find the cause."
Duh, might it be because there is an outage.
The power is, obviously, back on but as it is almost lunch time, I will work on the frame quilt for a bit and then, after lunch try to get back to the book.
I have been thinking about hooking up my web cam to do some video tutorials but the picture quality isn't that good with it.  I do have video on my camera so could get my husband to hold it but, I think that a small tripod would be a better idea.  Something else on which to spend my money.  I should be able to get one second hand so will keep my eye open.  It would be good for my still photos as well because when I am using the telephoto lens it is hard to keep my hand steady.

The trillium's are in bloom.  We have purple ones on and around the property.  There were quite a few along the edge of the road where we walk.  Lovely.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Aprons and Presser Feet.

Well, here we are almost at 8 o'clock and I just realized I hadn't posted anything yet.  I have been making aprons today.  There was a white sheet in good condition amongst the fabric donation I had and, as it wasn't a size I could use, I decided the church could use some aprons.
The men made the women brunch on Sunday and one of them got something on his shirts.  I spilled chili on my jacket a while ago so I think aprons will help. With the help of my serger, they can be made quite quickly.
I have also done some work on the quilt I have on the frame.  I am really out of practice but I am keeping the speed down and am gradually getting into the rhythm again.
My studio is still nice and tidy and I am hoping that if I can get into the habit of putting things away, I will keep it like this.  It is much nicer to be able to not only find things but also have lots of room on my cutting board.  Previously, it was piled high with fabric, half started projects and other flotsam which I pushed to one side when I needed to cut something.  Rather silly to try and squeeze a few inches to cut a huge piece of fabric when you have a nice large mat and table designed for the purpose.

I ordered a presser foot for my Juki today.  Mine broke last year and I have been waiting ever since for a store to order another one.  I called different place and it should be in in a week.  A cost a lot of money which I debated spending but the foot I have been using doesn't fit right and I can't use it for ruler work.  Hope I sell a bunch of books and patterns to offset the cost.
We have had a few days of cool weather but the forecast seems to be for more seasonable temperatures.  I have some strawberry plants to get into the ground.  Our apple trees have a lot of buds so we are hoping for a good crop from them this year.  We had one lone apple last year.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Tidy Studio

My Studio

Sitting Corner

Heidi's Window Seat

These are some photos of my organized studio.  In the top picture, you can see the cutting and ironing table, my design wall and serger stand.  In the foreground on the right is the sewing table and on the left my long (short) arm.
The second photo shows my little sitting corner with the book case containing all my magazines, binders and quilt/sewing books.  My knitting supplies are in the metal trunk under the window  which, as you can see in the third picture, is also Heidi's special place.  She can sit there and watch my husband as he tends the chickens, works around the shed or gets ready to go somewhere.
I didn't take a shot of the computer area or the sitting room.  There are also two more book cases.  There is still quite a bit more to do but I am enjoying the space. My one big hope is that I can keep it as tidy as this. 
Yesterday, I picked up the plastic bags for my quilt patterns so I can sell them in stores.  I have one ready to be written but first, I have to get the top quilted.  Before I can do that, there are two others that will be gifts that have to get done.  Getting started on them is today's project.
It is cooler and quite overcast today so a good day to stay in side and quilt.  Yahoo.
Have you checked out the information on my book, Scrappy Quilts and More From the Back Woods Quilter?  Just go to my web page and you will see all the details.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Gnomes Are Home

Our gnomes have come out of hibernation and taken up their place in our garden.  Most are in the front perennial garden although some seemed to have left to join the wood ones by the rail fence. I notice that some odd creatures have appeared in the small west side garden.  They do look vaguely like snails and turtles but they are pushing wheelbarrows and are wearing tiny straw hats to keep from getting a sun burn.
It is always an exciting time when our back woods home is, once again, blessed with the gnomes and their friends.  We aren't sure when they will make their yearly appearance but it is usually mid spring.  The senior gnomes Norbert and his wife, Nelda, claim their usual spot by an old stump.  They stand close to an opening in its base and I notice that Nelda likes to stand a little further back into the opening.  I don't think it is because she is shy.  Or at least she doesn't appear to be. Perhaps she is just embarrassed because her husband, unlike the other gnomes who are busy working, just leans against the stump gripping his coffee mug (he says it's coffee), long white beard resting against his comfortable belly.
I think Norbert has earned his rest.  It was he who accompanied my husband on his trip across the country to check out the property and then again when we moved.  He supervised the removing of trees, preparing of the foundation, installation of sewer, well digging and placed numerous calls to the hydro and phone companies so we could get service.  I don't know how my husband would have managed without him.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Support Your Library

Whew, I need a break.  I have been busy since I got up this morning: walk the dog, make bread, put up 2 sets of mini blinds, organize loose papers in quilt room.  I am in the process of doing the latter and have, so far, eliminated what I don't want.  The hardest part is deciding what should go where.  I have the folders that I labelled a while ago (and had forgotten) so they will hold the bits and pieces.
Once I get this done, I have a pile of fabric on my sewing table that needs sorting and then I will be finished. I gave away some books and scrap fabrics to the quilt group and our local library yesterday.
If you have quilt books that you don't need, consider giving them to your library.  If they don't have room on their shelves, most libraries have book sales and your donation could be used to raise funds that enable them to buy more books and put on programs.  Most libraries are underfunded.  They are such a tremendous resource and I always do what I can to support them.
It feels close today.  It isn't humid but feels as though it should be.  Although the sun is shining, it, nevertheless, seems like it is going to rain.  Sounds dreary doesn't it?

I got some of the garden planted this morning.  A couple of lettuce varieties and a row of beets are in one of the raised gardens.  Tomorrow, I will do some more beets as well as cucumbers, spinach and potatoes.  I want to put broccoli plants in the other raised garden as well as a ton of tomatoes but am going to wait until closer to the end of this month to make sure we don't get a surprise frost. We have to do outdoor work in short burst now as the dreaded black flies have arrived.

I don't seem to be doing much actually quilting this week other than putting the finishing touches on my chicken appliques.  I  have one more of them to do and I can put together the blocks.  I have a couple of tops that need to be quilted soon as well. Should be able to start them next week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Surprise

Yes, I know today is Monday and I don't usually post on the beginning of the week but, our quilt day was changed to Tuesday, so, here I am. I got out early this morning and took the dog for a walk before breakfast and before the heat settled in.  I probably should have had a bit of something before setting out but I have to wait half an hour after taking my thyroid pill before I can eat so off I went.  I usually take it just before getting up so it does post a bit of a problem.  I think I will get some juice and have a glass of it before setting out next time.
Poor Heidi is feeling a bit confused over the change in routine.  She has been laying around on a chair in the sun room since we got back.  She hasn't even ate her food yet.
I have got quite a bit of things done already.  I started some yogurt and it is sitting in a warm window thickening.  I also did some maple fudge but it hasn't set.  I think it is going to be maple frosting which means I will have to make a cake.  Or maybe I can buy an unfrosted carrot cake.
I've gathered together the totes that contained our outdoor ornaments-gnomes and bird feeders.  I have given the hummingbird feeders another good cleaning and have filled and hung up two.  My neighbour told me that he has seen the little creatures around their feeder so thought I should get busy and set up ours.
It is almost lunch time.  After I eat, I am going to spend the rest of the day finishing up my studio organizing.  I have a quilt top I want to get on the frame and quilted.  I am writing up the pattern for this one so it can be sold in our local quilt store as well as others between here and Orillia.
I have ordered the special bags and they should be here soon
I am hoping to get our vegetable garden planted or at least some of it as it appears the black flies are arriving.  I am just waiting for my husband to get the soil tilled.  I am trying not to nag.  Really I am.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Chicken Dance

Gnomes and Chickens

It is another lovely day here in the back woods.  I went for a walk to the pond, chased a crazy woodpecker from a wooden bird house and gave some greens to the chickens. This silly bird has beaten the roof of the house to Swiss cheese and seems bent on doing the same to the rest of the structure.  It must be related to the robin that is attacking my car windows and leaving white streaks all over the doors.  I am going to have to drape something over the windows until it loses interest.
We will be getting ready for church soon.  Right now we are sitting in the sun room drinking our coffee.  Husband is ready the paper, I, obviously, am at the computer and Heidi the dog is hoping she can jump up on Roger's lap.
roger has moved the chickens since I took this pictures and they are now on the top railing rather than doing the chicken dance in mid air.
Have a blessed Sunday.

(I just went out and took another photo so you could see the chickens.  Can you see the other little gnome peeking from behind the stump on the right side?)

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Vigilante Robin

I took my car in for servicing yesterday.  When they are finished, they wash it.  They are going to have to work a little harder this time as I have bird poop on both sides.  We couldn't figure out where it was coming from as I don't park under a tree and there was streaks all down the front doors.
My husband figured out what was going on when he saw a robin attack the windows of his truck. One (I hope) excited robin equals a lot of poop.
Yesterday evening while working in the quilt room, I heard a tapping on one of the windows.  I investigated and saw a robin.  I don't know if it is the same one but, if so, it better not leave souvenirs of its presence on my walls.
I couldn't get a photo of it at the window but did get this one as it was pretending to be someone else.
Attack robin.

Doesn't it do a great job of blending into the background? Even that bright orange tummy seems part of the leaves.

I am making great strides in getting my studio back into shape.  There are still totes that haven't been emptied since I moved into the room and they will have to wait for a bit.  I need to build some shelves for my thread and notions for the long arm frame.
I hung my laundry out this morning.  How nice to be able to do so in shorts and sandals!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Fence

Rustic Rail Fence
We built this fence last night.  It is on a ridge that is on the south side of the house and I can see it from my quilt room.  I plan on using it for photographing my quilts.
I am going to plant some flowers in front of it (between fence and rocks) and a lot of spring bulbs.  I think a blanket of daffodils would really look nice.
Speaking of daffodils;  this is our first one to come into full bloom.  The others won't be far behind. The trees in the bush are in bud and the little spring peepers (frogs) are in full song in the evening.  Our Heidi seems to be nervous of them and I have to go our with her in the evening for her last outing of the day.
 My husband has gone for a motorcycle ride and I have to take the car in for servicing later in the day but, until then, I am going to do some work in the quilt studio.  It has become a place to drop stuff and I have to get every thing that isn't supposed to be here, out.  The room really needs to have a wall to separate it from the other parts of the house but then I would be sacrificing light so I will just have to make a rule:  if it isn't quilt or sewing related, put it somewhere else.

First Daffodil



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Planting Time

I am getting ready for a craft sale on Saturday.  I am making some snap bags, chicken pin cushions and a few other things.  I usually feel these events are time wasters as you sit there for a whole day after getting up and out of the house much earlier than you would like.  You may cover the cost of your table rental and a few dollars extra if you happen to take things that people want.
Most of the time, however, you visit with the other vendors.  Customer's especially in a small community (and often in big ones) are few and far between.  Most attendees are browsers.
I am taking part in this one because it has been organized by a friend and I wanted to help offset her costs.  She has done a lot of advertising so I hope it will be a successful event.  the weather is predicted to be nice so that is a plus. 
I am itching to get into my garden and start planting.  My husband is going to get everything ready for me for next week and I can start planting some of the root veggies.
Timing is critical in this area.  You can't start too early in case of a late frost; too late and you are into black fly season.  Everyone thinks they little critters will arrive early this year.  Hope they also leave as quickly.
Here is another photo from the North Bay quilt show.