Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Life Story.

Another lovely day.  I baked, cleaned and did laundry.  Then I went for a nice long walk with our Heidi.  There are a lot of leaves on the ground and it was nice walking through them and hearing the rustle.  Heidi and her Velcro hair picks up a lot of them and brought them home.  She is going in for a trim tomorrow so that should reduce the problem.
We will be in October in another couple of days.  I am glad we are getting a nice start to the fall and hope it continues for a bit.  I do look forward to winter and less activities but it is nice to have the warmer weather.  I still have some fall bulbs to plants in a new area I want to develop.

Tomorrow husband and I are going to have a day out.  We are going north this time to North Bay.  There are some second had stores I would like to check out and see if there is anything that is begging to come home with us.
Thurs. I hope to get back at my quilting.  I have a top to quilt, two other quilts to put together and a bunch of others I want to make.  Story of our lives isn't it?  This press of ideas and shortage of time isn't limited to quilter's either.  I heard an artist say the same things.  She had so many pictures she wanted to paint and was sure she would never get half them done.
I hope you are getting some nice weather where you live.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fiction Friday

This is the first Friday Fiction.  I hope you enjoy it.

Just a Suggestion.
When the parcel arrived from her Mother's executor, Morgan didn't know if she should open it right away or wait until her husband came home and was able to lend a comforting arm if it was needed.  She put the kettle on for tea and made an unnecessary fuss getting out her cup, rinsing the pot and adding the boiling water while she made up her mind.
It had been a difficult few months.  First, there was the unexpected diagnosis followed just five very short weeks later by her mother's death.  Five weeks in which to cram what should have been more than 20 years of love, laughter, words, experiences and memories.  Her mother had chosen to forgo any treatment knowing it might, at best, delay the inevitable a few days but would rob everyone of  precious moments of being together.  They were all by her bedside; her father and her sister on one side and she and her son on the other, when her mother smiled at them and quit breathing.  It was so quiet that, at first, no-one realized she had gone.  Then the medical staff took over, followed by all the legal requirements of a death.
The funeral was, as they often are, both a comfort and a nightmare.  The crowd of family and friends that filled the little church for the memorial service reinforced the knowledge that her mother was a loved and respected woman.  That it took place for such a reason was going to take a long time to accept.
Morgan stared at the parcel on the table and, then reached for the scissors she had brought with the teapot.  She was too curious to wait any longer.  What possibly could the lawyer have sent that was big enough to need a box.  Most of the communication the family had received fit in an envelope.  She carefully cut the tape and removed the paper.  Inside was a plastic bag containing, she thought a dress or something made of fabric.  There was two envelopes and she read the one with the lawyer's name on first.  It simply stated that he had been instructed to send the parcel and letter after her mother's funeral.  The second letter was in her mother's familiar hand. 
My dear Morgan, it read, this is going to be a surprise, I know, but I wanted to leave you with something that would occupy you during this period of adjustment.  I put these blocks together from fabric that I had saved from the dresses I made you.  Each one has reminded me of how beautiful you looked in them.  You were a lovely child and have grown into an even lovelier woman.  I would like you to put the blocks together and have them made into a quilt.  I hope, as you work on it, you will remember, as I did, when you wore the clothing, the fun we all had working together and how much I love you, precious daughter. I have sent another bag to your sister.  Perhaps you can work together.  Just a suggestion.
It was signed, simply, Mom.
Morgan laughed.  'Just a suggestion.'  Her mother never interfered, she 'suggested'.  She never told anyone what to do just offered a 'suggestion'.  When Morgan and her sister had chose to live their lives separate from each other, they knew it had made their mother unhappy but pride and stubbornness kept them from changing.  The closeness they had known as children wasn't strong enough to withstand teenage rivalry, boyfriends and bad friends.  It all seemed so silly now.  Perhaps, Morgan thought, as with so many times in the past, it was time to follow another of her mother's 'suggestions'.
She picked up the phone and punched in her sister's number.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Wonderful Summer Fall Day.

Another lovely day.  I just got back from my walk  after finishing my sewing job.  If summer days were like this, warm and no bugs, that season would move up to one of the ones I enjoy.
I have been sewing non stop except for a quick lunch since just after 9 a.m. this morning working on this job.  I make the neck scarves for two scout groups.  It is tedious work and I don't charge enough but it helps out the association and the parents who pay for the uniforms.  It is certainly not something I would want to do every day-or every month for that matter.
The rest of the week and weekend isn't any less busy.  Doctor's appointment in the morning and then to Huntsville for shopping.  Saturday, I am doing a hand quilting demo at the village park and Sunday, after church, there is an all candidates meeting for the election.  We have quite a few running for councillor and I don't know all of them so we are going to meet them and hear what they have to say.

I have been thinking about doing something special for Fridays and have decided to have a weekly Fiction Friday.  On that day, instead of the usual ramblings, I will post a short, quilt related story.
Will try and get the first one done for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quilt Sale

What a beautiful day.  It has been hard staying indoors but I have a sewing job that needs to be completed before Friday.  I have, therefore, been keeping my feet tucked under the sewing table.  I have also done a bit of quilting and a bit of writing.  Took the dog for a quick walk to the pond and watched the ducks splash about.  The trees at the back of the property have some colour at the top and it was reflected in the water.  Very lovely and very peaceful.  After a quick walk around, it was back to the office.  I will be stopping soon to get supper.
I have a 25% off on my quilts.  You can see many of them by going to going to my Facebook page and following the link or click on the tab below "My quilts are for Sale " on the right side of this page.
I also have other quilts available so if you don't see anything you like, contact me.
Now, get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  It isn't going to last.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Free Block, Third Version

These lovely autumn photos were taken on our driveway.  We still have the best colour in Almaguin.  The majority of trees in the area have started to don their fall finery but not as much as our drive.  The bush hasn't got much colour either as you can see in the fourth picture.
The last photo shows my final version of the free block.  After I had it assembled according to the directions, I cut it in half diagonally.  I switched one half with another from a second block and, being careful to align all seams, sewed it together.  I like this version much better.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Enjoy Life

That free block just keeps evolving.  I have another step that has resulted in a really interesting look.  I don't have time to do a photo and post today but will next week so, stay tuned for Free Block Step Three
It has been a lovely day today weather and activity wise.  I have spent nearly all of it quilting.  I did go for a walk with little Heidi.  The colours are really starting to show along the road so it makes it doubly pleasant.
I got a fabric catalogue in the mail so I can leaf through that later.
Hope you all have a great weekend.  Don't let the weather dictate your mood or enjoyment of life.  Imagine if you were just told that you only had a week to live.  What would you do?  Okay, now do at least one of those things.  You won't be sorry.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Free Pattern Part Two

Yesterday I shared a link for a free pattern from: www.byannie.com.  I have designed a variation of it for those of you who don't like scrappy quilts or need a quick project for a gift.
From your focus fabric cut: 3 strips 4 1/2" wide by WOF
From contrasting fabric cut: 3 strips 2 1/2" wide by WOF
Sew a narrow strip to the wide twice.
Sew the third wide strip to the narrow so you now have wide, narrow, wide, narrow, wide.
Press.  Cut the joined section into 7 1/2" sections
Join two sections with the remaining 2 1/2" strip.  Repeat for remaining sections.
You will get five 7 1/2" sections per row.  Use this math to help you determine how many strips you need to cut to make the number of blocks needed. Annie give the number of blocks needed per quilt size in her pattern.
The first photo shows a single block; the second is one of the ways you can join them.  You could also put sashing strips between the blocks or have them all turned the same way.
Please remember that if you are going to sell a quilt made from this pattern to ask permission from the original designer, Annie Unrein.  She can be reached at the link I gave for the pattern.
We have had a busy day here in the back woods.  Being Thursday and my baking day, I made a some cookies, cereal for our breakfast and a few other things.  I also cooked up some carrots to make curried carrot soup. 
We decided to get all our tomatoes in as there is a frost warning and it doesn't seem as though we are going to get any more summer.  I now have to put them all between newspapers in hopes that they will ripen.  I did slice some of the green ones and put them in freezer bags.  We love fried green tomatoes so it will be nice to have them in the winter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another Free Pattern

It is pouring.  Rain was predicted but only a millimetre or two.  We exceeded that in the first minute.  I am glad it held off until hubby got back from picking up the addition to our laying flock that replaces the hens taken by a fox.  The old truck doesn't have very reliable windshield wipers and sometimes they work and sometimes not.  We probably need another motor but as we rarely use it, it hasn't seemed to be worth the time and effort to get one.
I have been working at a couple of scrappy quilt's today.  The one has a lot of little pieces so I like to have something else to alternate. 
I also finished cutting up a bushel of apples and got some of them in the freezer.  I have made apple sauce with the rest which will also be froze.  The tomatoes are starting to fall off the vine even though they aren't ripe.  I have been picking them and putting them on a table outside to ripen.  They have just got a really good wash.
I found a pattern on line that you might find worth checking out.  It is great for using all those fat quarters you've bought and haven't yet used.  The pattern is at: www.byannie.com.  Go to Free Patterns and look for Wickedly Easy Quilts.  The blocks are 16 inches so the top will go together quickly. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Preserving our Bounty

We are having a nice plus 16, sunny day.  Hubby and I just got back from a nice long with  our Heidi. We were following the tracks of a momma moose and baby down our driveway and then back up my sister's lane.  They are probably living in the wetlands that adjoin the two properties.
I don't think the fall colours are going to be as nice this year but the leaves are well under way.  We went to Huntsville again this morning as I had an optometrist appoint.  It was quite foggy and, as we were going down the hill into the town the combination of mist and sun made the lake appear as though it were molten silver.  Beautiful.  There wasn't anywhere to stop and take a photo but it would have been a lovely photo had I been able.
I am taking part in a virtual quilt retreat that is hosted by the Quilt Pattern Magazine on Oct.5th (think that is the date)  We have been given fabric requirements and cutting instructions so far and, I guess, more steps will be revealed as we get closer to the date.  On the day of the retreat, we will be able to share our quilt progress and take part in other activities.  It is free so if you would like to check it out, go to Pattern Pastiche for details.
I have got my fabric cut and now can go back to working on the quilt challenge I am doing with my on line group.
Hope you are enjoying these days that are leading away from the busy summer season.  I am probably just as busy now-maybe more so, but I really enjoy it.  I love preserving time with the shelves and freezer filling up with jams, jellies etc.  I am doing a small bushel of apples today so they will be ready for baking.  Hubby has other apples that he will be getting ready for applesauce. I am going to surprise him with baked apples for dessert tonight.  Shh

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tomato in a Toque.

I thought we had left lots of room for our tomato plants to grow but, apparently, we didn't.  We got a lot of these double tomatoes this year.  Some are quite large.  I thought this one looked particularly funny; like it was wearing a green toque.  Next year, we will have to be more aware of the space between each plant.  They are rather like the cute little Great Dane puppy which grows up to be the size of a Volkswagen.

Despite the crowding, we do have a large crop so goodness knows how much better they will produce if they have more space.

Did you get any frost in your area last night?  There was a possibility for us but it didn't happen.  It is way to early yet.  Funny how everything has been two weeks behind all summer but fall is trying to be two weeks ahead!

Tomorrow, hubby and I are going to a classic car show in Huntsville.  The quilt store is also having a sale so I will check that out as well.  It is supposed to be raining but that is why umbrellas were invented.

I posted a great idea for a casserole carrier on my Facebook page.  It is in video form.  The designer is speaking a different language but I think you will be able to get the gist.  Link to my page is on the right under My Favourite Places.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cold Day

Boy, it is cold out today.  I just got back from taking Heidi for a walk and we hadn't gone far before I was wishing I had put on a hat and warmer coat.  We didn't go far not like Tues when we covered a couple of kilometers.
I am glad I did get outside though.  I find that my mind starts to feel blah if I don't get some fresh air every day.  It had been raining quite heavily early in the day but just cleared up so I took advantage of it.  I am surprised that we didn't lose some trees overnight as there was a very strong wind.
I did get some baking done today.  Not as much as I planned as I didn't seem to have the energy.  However, some carrot muffins and a dessert for supper are now in the fridge.
  I have had some nice comments about my free pattern.  If you didn't read yesterdays post, the photo and instructions are there.  I also posted a fabric challenge the day before.  The point of the challenge is to take you out of your fabric comfort zone.  The free pattern makes up quickly so it would be great for a last minute gift. 
I would love to see your version if you make it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Steps: A Free Pattern

In honour of my 1000th post yesterday, I have a free pattern for you.  This is very simple but, I feel, quite effective.  I have used two very contrasting fabrics in the digital photo but have made also made it with only slightly dissimilar colours.

The make this quilt block you will need to cut a rectangle of 8 1/2" X 10 1/2" from each fabric.  Place  right sides together and measure in 1 1/2" inches from the long side at the top right corner.  Place a pin at this point.  Measure 1 1/2" on the opposite end and place another pin.  Put your cutting ruler on the fabric so it reaches diagonally from one pin to the next.  Cut fabric. 
You may find it helpful to make a template from box board.  Be sure to mark the right side of the template.
Sew light section to dark.  Continue with these steps until you have your required number of blocks.  Sew blocks together to make your top.
There will be more detailed instructions of this pattern on Craftsy but if you need help or something clarified, just contact me.

Block for Steps

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fabric Challenge

It is getting cooler in our backwoods home.  We are in the single digits at night which makes for a good  rest cuddled under an extra quilt.  We have been bringing our tomatoes in on a regular basis as soon as they are ripe or nearly so.  We are fighting some creature for the rights to our vegetable and, if we don't get to them first, we find a bite in them.  I suspect our varmit is a squirrel.
I made some chili sauce on Saturday and have enough tomatoes for another batch.  Then I will freeze the rest of the tomatoes for stew, soups and casseroles.
I am hoping that we don't get Alberta's weather although it usually arrives here a couple of weeks after they experience it.  They have snow already.  Quite a bit of it.  Because the trees still have their leaves, the snow will weigh them down and that can result in a lot of breakage. When we were living there, there was a nasty snow storm in late May that did tremendous damage.
I am making good progress on my book.  The second chapter is started and my schedule is to finish that this week. 
I issued a fabric challenge to our local quilt group yesterday.  This is something you can do by yourself if you wish.  Send me an e mail and I will give you the details of the challenge.  You will get a free pattern to go with it.
Today is my one thousandth post.  I feel I should do something to celebrate.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Who Moved the Finish Line?

I finished putting the flying geese border around my panel quilt.  It took a bit of fiddling to get everything to fit properly but it is on and looks good.  Now I need to decide what to do for the rest of the borders.
I have been spending most of the day writing.  Quite some time ago, I started writing a novel.  I still think the idea is good but, as it wasn't writing itself, if I wanted to get it done I needed to get at it.
I always find it odd that even when you really enjoy something there is a tendency to keep putting off working on it.  It doesn't seem to matter if it is quilting, writing, going for a walk or spending time with someone, I can come up with more delaying tactics than a child on his way to school.
I think I need to have a deadline as that usually spurs me on to action.  Unfortunately, a self imposed one (today I will finish that quilt top) doesn't work.  What is going to happen to me if I don't get it done?  Not a thing.
Maybe I  need a bribe.  Anyone willing to offer me a large sum of money if I get this book done by the end of the year?
No.  Oh well, I guess I had better get at it anyway.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quilt Patterns.

I had a question regarding the quilting pattern I used on the one to the right of the photo in the last post.  The reader asked if it was a free hand or a commercial pantograph.  I share with her what I had done and then thought others might like to know as well.
I often buy stencils that are meant for hand quilting because I like the design.  I then trace it on multiple sheets of paper which are taped together horizontally to make a design to be used with my frame machine.  The double heart pattern on that quilt was one of those designs.
When you have a machine that can only quilt a small vertical area, it is sometimes hard to get designs.  Many patterns are now digital for use with a computerized set up.  I don't have that either so, again, my method provides me with more options.
If you don't mind using the printer ink, you can just make multiple photocopies of  the first tracing you make and then tape them together.

Made my first preserves today.  I did no- sugar jam and some  pickled beets.  Got lots more things to make but this gives me a start.  The jam was really easy and turned out well.  Next job is my chili sauce.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More Fair Photos.

I have had requests to show the rest of my entries, so,  here they are. I did show the table runner as the pattern is the same block as the place mats. My little Christmas ornament isn't very obvious.  it is above the angel hanging.
I picked up the entry book from a near by community this morning but haven't decided if I am going to do this one.  There aren't as many categories and the prize money is less.  The money isn't a big consideration but it does take time to get things ready and then they have to be taken to the fair grounds and picked up again once the event is over.
My new quilt book came in the mail today and I am anxious to get started on one of the scrappy quilts but I think I will finish the flying geese border on the panel quilt I am doing. (You can see that quilt on my design wall in the photo of my prize winning dress.)
Tomorrow, I start my preserves if it isn't too hot.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Winnings

I did quite well at the fair.  I entered 10 items and got first prize ribbons, three seconds and one third.  One article didn't place. Overall, I am pleased.  There is another area fair in a couple of weeks and I am going to pick up their book tomorrow as I am planning on putting some things in it as well.

This little doll, as you can see, was one of the winners.  She is already for bed in her flannel, lace trimmed nightie and cap.  I enjoy doing doll clothes and am planning a period costume for next year.

Hubby and I went to Huntsville for shipping this morning and I got one of my cookbooks coil bound at Staples.  It was quite cheap to get this done and makes the book much easier to use.  I have a few favourite quilt books that I think I will get done as well.

I woke up very early this morning so am tired today.  The sun, however, is shining, my tomatoes are ripening and it is a good day.