Friday, November 29, 2013

Flying Geese

Today, I am sewing  some half square triangles into pairs to make, what appears to be, flying geese. I have had these blocks for at least a year (which isn't all that long as I've got some blocks that were made ten years ago).  I am not sure  if I will then turn them into a small runner or use them as border in a larger quilt.  In any case, it will be more of the bits and pieces I have hanging around used up.

The sun is shining quite brightly so I am looking forward to getting outside for my walk and enjoying the crisp day.  My husband has gone off to his euchre game, supper is already made so I have a nice peaceful afternoon spread out before me.

I haven't heard from the person who was interested in having me making a quilt for him so I assume he has changed his mind.  Would be nice if he let me know but I have given him a confirmation deadline so it is up to him.
I am looking forward to turning the panel I bought into a wall hanging.  It is still on my display wall and I really like it.  Perhaps I will put a row of the flying geese around it.  Seems fitting to have that block on a panel that represents the northern lights.
Hope you all have a great weekend and don't spend too much money on the sales today. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I bought this lovely panel at our local quilt store today.  They were having an anniversary sale and everything in the store was 25% off and some up to 60%.  This may be used in a commissioned quilt but, if not, I do have a plan for it.

While in town, I checked out some of the pre Black Friday sales.  Canada is starting to hold these now and there are some good deals.  My pc mouse had started to malfunction so I got a new one and tomorrow I think I will buy a tablet on line.
Always lots of thing on which to spend our hard earned money, isn't there.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blue Jays in the Feeder

I have been trying for more than a week to get a photo of the blue jays that have been taking advantage of our feeder.  Every time I got close enough to get a good shot, they would take off.  Today, I was a bit more successful. We are getting up to 5 at a time and, as you can see, they appear to be nice and healthy.
I overheard someone saying that jays are not as common the last few years but we have a lot in this area.  Perhaps they are getting more restrictive in the feeders they visit.
I have been having a hard time getting motivated to do anything much the last couple of days.  I have almost finished the applique touches I am adding to a quilt and have another one with the binding ready to be finished.  But, these are all projects that are done by hand.  I didn't want to start anything new until these are all finished so I think I will check out the drawer that has my unfinished quilts.  I believe I have done all but one and it just needs binding but perhaps there is a top lurking somewhere.
Tomorrow I am going to Huntsville as our local quilt store is having an anniversary sale.  I am getting short on red fabric so this will be a good time to get a meter or five.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Praise of Groups

It Takes a Village

We have all heard the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child".  Sometimes, it also takes a village-or a quilt group at least, to make a quilt.  This top is constructed of fabrics donated by or exchanged with members of our local group.
Our ladies share generously of their stash, patterns, magazines and talent.  They also share their encouragement, support and friendship.  I am sure it is the same in your group or guild.  It is one of the reason's why we belong.  Often on a Monday, I will get up feeling tired or discouraged.  The last thing I feel like doing is getting dressed and going out.  However, off I go and within a short time of arrival, I feel better.
We celebrate each other's birthdays with a cake and a card.  Nothing special except to us.  It is another reminder that the little things in each others lives are shared.
We have faced together; the death of a member, ill health, concerns  of aging relatives, the passing of a spouse, the loss of a beloved pet and much more. 
Quilting is the reason we gather, friendship is the reason we stay.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Two Anniversaries and a Birthday

I've just finished making some dog biscuits for Heidi.  They have pumpkin in them and I added some peanut butter.  The recipe calls for rice flour and I did use that but combined it with half a cup of whole wheat as she isn't sensitive to it.  Corn? oh, my yes but not wheat.

Yesterday, I started cutting the smaller pieces of fabric that had I set aside from my sorting.  I am only doing 2.5 inch strips, 5 inch squares and 3.5 X 6.5 inch blocks.  These are what I need for the quilts that are on my agenda to make.
I need to add the binding to two more quilts; one just finished and the other in my 'finish it for goodness sake' pile.  Once that latter one is done, I will have completed all my WIP's.  Whoopee!

I am sure most/all of you are aware of today's anniversary and where you were when it happened.  I was working in a factory in Lindsay, Ont. when the Personnel Officer came on the intercom to tell us that Pres. Kennedy had been shot.  We got the update as we left work.  I remember  everyone in the streets (including myself) was crying.
This date also reminds me of another anniversary.  My mother and younger siblings were on a ship 50 years ago as they were moving to England.  The assassination took place the day after my one sister's birthday so the three events are all fixed together in my mind.

Life has not got any safer since that dreadful day but I think we value our loved ones more.  We have become only too aware of how quickly we can lose them.  Camelot may have passed but we are still blessed, in comparison with many countries,  with relative peace and safety.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vote for this Publication

Please vote for this company every day.  This is one of the magazines that I write for.  It is a Canadian publication for quilter's.  It is hard to be a successful magazine publisher in this country because of our relative small population to size.
Thank you.

If you vote for us, Quilter's Connection Magazine could win up to $5000 - which will help us to create a fabulous marketing strategy to get the word out to more Canadian quilters that we have this great magazine available!

Please take a moment to vote for us and share this with your friends too! Click on the link below to vote, and forward this email to others.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tis the Season

Have you started listening to Christmas music yet-intentionally, I mean?  Radio stations and some stores have started already and that odd phenomenon, the fireplace TV station is now on the air.  You can watch an artificial fire while listening to a loop of pre recorded Christmas songs.  You can feel the holiday spirit starting to flow just thinking about it.
I have a few of my favourite CD's lined up ready to play but haven't put them on yet.  Our local parade is the first Saturday in December, the church advent service this coming Sunday and we have the tickets for a community dinner. We have already received our first Christmas card so I guess I have better start getting ready.
I will probably get the decorations and trees out this weekend.  I have the ingredients for fruit cake which will be done next week as well as some festive cookies.
Today, I have taken all my fabric from the shelves and done some sorting.  I am putting the smaller pieces to one side so I can cut them into strips and charms.  This is also giving me a chance to see what I need to buy.  I am getting short on red which I use a lot.  I do have  a lot of black; another favourite, but nearly quarter of it has metallic glitter on the fabric.
I have a weakness for glittery fabric and then, once bought, I don't know what to do with it.  I think I will just set all that material in one pile and make a glittery quilt for Christmas.
We are getting a lovely sunset right now.  The weather has been nice all day as it was yesterday.  I have managed to get outside for a small walk both days which makes Heidi happy and me healthy.
I hoping to have another free scrappy pattern for you soon.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shoe Boxes for Christmas

Heidi is, as you can see, getting ready to celebrate Christmas.  She told us this morning that she had been saving her allowance and is ready to be taken shopping.  I am not sure what we will be able to buy with three small dog biscuits, but perhaps we can find a sale somewhere.
It is, once again, looking seasonal here in the backwoods.  We had a bit of snow fall yesterday along with some strong winds.  If you live in the central part of Ontario, you probably experienced both the wind and the power outage that went with it. 
I left the house early yesterday morning and fought the wind and heavy rain for two hours until I reached my first stop.  I called home to let my husband know I had arrived and he told me the hydro had gone out.  It didn't come back on until around eight in the evening.  I got home just before four, had supper, and then just sat until I decided to go to bed around seven.  I was really tired from driving in those conditions.
Today, my husband and I went over to our church and helped back the shoe boxes that will be sent to children in other countries who have so little.  The church purchases plastic shoe box size containers and these are just as valuable to the recipients as the contents.  The boxes are used to hold water and many other items. Pencils and small notepads are another valued item as, in some countries, children cannot go to school unless they have supplies.  All this emphasizes, once again, how fortunate we are in this country.
I am going to be finishing my small quilt with the dog blocks today.  I quilted in one direction and have turned it to do the other.  I am doing free hand bones and they are turning out well.,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rambling About Life.

I was thinking back to the humble beginnings of this blog and how it has grown. My first readers were family members and a few friends.  There are now readers from all over the world and 79 registered followers.   Every author has two dreams.  The first is that someone (and eventually many someone's) will enjoy what is written and the second is to be paid for the pleasure of writing.
I have been very fortunate in achieving the second dream right at the beginning.  The editor of the Orillia packet and Times, Jack Marshall hired me to write a weekly column called Branching Out.  I stayed with them for 5 years and, since then have written for a number of newspapers and magazines. I have  written two books-one unpublished, and currently contribute to our local paper and two quilting magazines.  At some point, I would like to do another weekly column similar to the one I did for the Packet but, for now, I have enough to keep me as busy as I want to be.
Writing this blog is what I do for fun.  While I have a self imposed goal of four posts a week, I won't fire myself if I fall short sometimes. I don't have to stick to any particular subject although I do try to include something about quilting as this is what interests the majority of my readers.
Another benefit of the blog is that it keeps my creative muscles in shape.  If you don't write constantly, it is more difficult to do so.  I try to be as conscientious about grammar and spelling  here as I am for my paid work.  My blog readers deserve to be given the same courtesy as those who have purchased a newspaper or magazine.  I also try to write something of interest although this is the area where I am most apt to fail. 
And, finally, I try to entertain.  I am not writing about world changing events nor anything that will solve a life and death problem.  I ramble on about my life, those that share it, where I live and what I do.  Thank you for making them feel noteworthy.
And, on a quilting note; I have all the blocks from my latest top spread out on the floor while I try to decide on the best layout.  Photo next week of my decision.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Uh Oh!

I've mentioned previously that when I bake, I do a lot of it at once.  For example, I will start the bread and while I wait for the two rising stages, I make cookie dough.  Once the bread is in the pan, the cookies are baked.  Cookies as in more than one kind.
This morning I was doing one of my favourite and most frequent made cookies.  The recipe calls for 2 cups of raisins to be boiled for 5 minutes in a cup of water.  I put that on while having breakfast.
The mixture cooled while I was doing bread and the other cookies.  As I was adding the flour and other ingredients to the raisin cookies, I thought the dough looked a bit runny.  Uh Oh.  I reversed the directions and did 1 cup of raisins in 2 cups of water.
I put the batter in the fridge for a while so it would cool and set a bit before cooking.  They didn't turn out to bad.  A bit softer than usual but still tasty.

I probably shouldn't try to multi task when baking but it is likely too late to change habits now.  I tend to always be doing two or three things at the same time no matter what it is.  I am not good at waiting while something does whatever it is supposed to do.
Everything is done except for dishes and I am tired so will do some writing before finishing up.  I need to get my next magazine article written.  I was mentally doing that while cooking so it shouldn't take long.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quilt Finished.

I finished the binding on this quilt last night.  It is pieced as you can see.  The quilt will be for sale shortly.  It was a lot of work and I don't know if I would do this pattern again but I do like the overall look.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Babies and Grape jelly

Our back woods haven hasn't yet taken on the beauty shown in this photo which I took last year but it is laying the basis.  It was difficult getting into the village yesterday for the Remembrance Day service as road was covered in about four inches of slushy snow.  I might have turned back but I had the wreath which the pastor of our church was going to place at the Cenotaph and, as he had driven from another community to get there, didn't want to cause him concern.  I did make it but with only a few moments to spare.
Afterwards, I went to the home of one of the quilt members.  We normally meet at the local Legion but as it was being used we decided to gather at a home.  Jen lives about 20 minutes from the village and along another country road but everyone made it. 
This morning I made some grape jelly and now have two big containers full of cut up pumpkin which, once cooked will be mashed and frozen.  I think I can now do some quilting until it is time to take the dog for a walk and then get supper.
My sister in law phoned today to see if we were going to their place for Christmas.  I laughed because  we hadn't even thought about the big day yet.  I will be starting decorating soon, have some gifts ready and have located the cards I bought last year but that is as far as I have got.  Of course, that is further on than I have since retiring and getting lackadaisical.
We are going to have a new grand nephew soon.  He is in his last few days before making an entrance so we expect to be getting the news any time.  I have a quilt already to welcome his arrival.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Non Service Charge.

Isn't bureaucracy frustrating sometime?  I find it even more so when they offer a service which is supposed to make doing something simple and it results in more difficulty.
Case in point;  Canada Post offers a service called Ship in a Click.  If you want to send a package, you go to the site and enter information such as size and weight of parcel and where it is going. They also need the senders info which created a bit of a problem.  I am used to entering street and post box address.  Nope.  Didn't want that. Also there is a place for post box number, I had to leave out that information.  When everything is completed, you are given a price and the option of paying on line and receiving a label to put on the parcel.  I followed instruction and received my confirmation but no label.  Instead I got an error message.  Drat.
This morning I called the toll free number to get my refund.  The voice menu, naturally, didn't give the Ship in a Click option despite this being the number given.  After a few failed attempts, I punched 0 a few times and got a person.
She facilitated my refund but when I explained the problem with reaching someone I was told that they didn't have room to include SIAC option on the menu.  I suggested that more accurate information be given on the service web page.  She indicated she would pass on the suggestion. By the way, Amanda, said the service was having 'technical' problems.  I have been trying to use it for 3 years and this is the first time I got as far as paying for it.  I should have suggested hiring a different IT service.

I don't know if anyone else finds the lack of service by a service irritating but I certainly do.  I think I will write the Post Master General if I can find accurate contact information.

While I am ranting, another irritation is paying for delivery service when I don't get delivery.  Hydro One charges the same delivery price whether or not there is an outage, Canada Post levies a fuel surcharge when I have to drive 10 km to send or receive mail.  Sears Canada also adds on a delivery charge and I have to drive the same 10 km to get my purchase.
Perhaps I should start deducting a non service payment.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nothing Much

My husband's injection went well.  Hardest part is finding where you should park to get to the correct hospital entrance.  Of course, we went to the wrong one and walked the length of the place.  Once we got where we were to be we were in and out in less than an hour.
He will have to have it done again in six months but it will be easier next time as we will know the procedure.
So, other than that and doing a bit of shopping, that has been my day.  I did start sewing the binding on my scrappy heart quilt and I hope this evening to get my baby quilt in the frame.  I am going to be doing something different on this one so will see how I make out.  I am sewing dog bone shapes free hand around the blocks (can't remember if I told you that before) and then doing shadow quilting.
Sorry this is short and not very interesting.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Scrappy Binding

I made our cranberry chutney this morning.  The recipe didn't make many jars so I tripled it and still just got 8 medium.  That should be enough to last us and, if not, it easy enough to make.  I just have my pepper jelly and chokecherry jelly to make and I will be finished for this year.
I am now putting together the binding for my heart scrappy quilt.  Coming up with the right colour was proving to be a problem so I decided to go with a scrappy.  I have a lot of 2 1/2" wide strips so they are being joined, end to end, until the length is sufficient.  I am trying to use a lot of red strips to bring out that colour in the blocks.
This quilt doesn't have any borders so I think the multi-coloured binding will look just right.  I will take a photo and show you when it is finished.
It is raining quite heavily today but it is warm and snug is our little rural home.  The downpour is keeping the hunters as home so no gun shots to disturb the peace and send our Heidi into a barking fit. There are four or five blue jays at the feeder which is just outside my biggest studio window.  They are my favourite birds.  I love their colour, their spunk and even their squeaky clothesline cry. The other, more timid, birds might be taking refuge in the bush but not the jays.  A little rain isn't going to come between them and their lunch.  The feeder is probably getting low so I had better add some more seed.  If the jays don't mind getting wet, I can be big and brave as well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Power Up

I am still trying to get caught up from the great power outage on Friday.  Ours went at 7 a.m. and didn't come back on until Saturday around 4 ish in the afternoon.  There were others in the area who had to wait until Monday before they were able to switch on their lights and flush toilets.
I had a table at a Christmas craft sale on Saturday and another lady and I both brought curling irons to do our hair!
My dear husband tried to get our generator going because we were concerned about a freezer full of meat.  When I called to see if we had power, he was gasping like a fish out of water.  He said he had been yanking on the start cord without success.  I told him I would rather have a husband than lights.  A couple of other friends said their generator gave them an argument about working as well. 
I did quite well at the sale.  All my little microwave bowl holders sold as did my pumpkin butter and a few odds and ends.  I made a profit after paying for my table and buying lunch so that is what is considered to be a success.
The picture is of some of the loaves I made last week.  The little one was for communion Sunday.  My posts may be a bit spotty this week as I am taking my husband to the hospital for a procedure on Thurs.  Your prayers for a successful result would be appreciated.  He is in constant pain from a deteriorating hip joint.