Friday, January 30, 2015

Goat Coat

I realized this morning, as I watched the sunrise paint a vivid pink background to the trees,  that I had taken very few photos this winter. Usually, my camera is put to good use as I capture the bright sunshine glinting off the snow, feeding deer, various birds and other sights that I find attractive.  This winter seems to have been dreary with few really nice sunny and cold days.  We have only seen a couple of deer and they are on a neighbour's property.  The birds are the only creatures that seem to enjoy our hospitality.  Squirrels, of course, are always active and willing to take advantage of any morsel whether or not it was intended for them.
I have had an unusual quilt request.  My neighbour raises a small breed of milk goats.  They will be giving birth sometime in March and, as it will still be cold then, I have been asked to make some blankets for them.  I did an internet search to get an idea of what they should look like and found that this is a common practice.  Who knew?  Apparently, they don't have much in the way of hair at first and their little bodies can get quite cold without additional protection.  One site suggested that a man's large wool workshop could be used if the foot part was removed and a couple of holes were cut for the front feet.  It will be an interesting job.

This photo of a handsome buck was taken last winter.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Side of the Family

I am finally getting some time to  sew.  I am working on a quilt for my hubby and it is a simple project that consists mainly of just adding strips and panels.  I have a bit more to do but then will have to stop until I get the fabric needed for the final border.
I took our Heidi for her vet appointment and it was not a fun drive.  The highway hadn't been plowed for northbound traffic so everyone was travelling at least 20 kilometers under the limit.  There was, at the most, one tire lane clear all the way.  Because the snow was drifting, it was heavy in places which could easily pull a vehicle in a direction you didn't want it to go.  It was better coming back but it is frustrating that the company contracted to do removal, isn't.
I was going to stop for the mail on the way back but then thought I should get her home so I could give her some Benadryl.  She has a reaction from one of the needles and gets really lethargic.  As she is a high energy dog, it is quite noticeable.  I was advised to give her the pill an hour before her appointment next time so have noted that on my calendar.  Of course she is also getting some nice bacon treats to reward her for being such a brave dog.
I react the same way to mediation so she must take after me. (I also love bacon) LOL.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pretty Sparkly things

It is amazing how much of our day is taken up in activities related to eating.  Today, I spent five hours driving to, from and purchasing groceries and another half an hour getting everything put away.  It was then time to get supper, eat, make breakfast cereal and clean up.  It is almost 8.00 p.m. and I left home this morning just before 10 a.m. to shop.  That is 10 hours spent on things that revolve around sustenance.  And I'm not counting breakfast.
Tomorrow, I have to do some baking before taking the dog to the vet.  Hubby cooks on Thurs. so I will have some free time after I get home.
Friday, I hope to be able to spend some time quilting before I end up with a bunch of PGF's (projects growing fungus).  I should have a bit of time now to sew together some strips for sashing which will save me from having a completely non quilting day.  I need to put together another hand applique block to work on while watching television.  I have been doing a bit of knitting lately but that is only so I have something to keep my hands busy.
I did buy something today that is now making me smile.  I love sparkly things.  They don't have to be expensive just shiny.  When I was in one store, I saw some stick on imitation gems which I bought.  I have some clear and red ones stuck around my computer monitor and they are sparkling in the lamp light.  I also stuck one on my cell phone.  They probably won't stay in place long but are fun while they are there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another Heidi Quilt

Have you ever started one thing and ended doing something completely different?  I did a bit of baking today and as I was clearing up, I got an idea about how I could make more room for my spices.  I have them in three places and some tend to hide behind others.  The racks that are on the pantry door are a good place but the smaller containers would either tip over or fall through.  I figured that if I cut some foam board to size, it would give those spices a better home.  I had some of the board left over from another project so I cut it and it worked great.  Then I started going through the spices, cleaning and filling containers, organizing them in the new area. 
After I finished, I found I had two large containers and one bag of nutmeg.  For some reason, whenever I needed it for a recipe, I couldn't find it.  I also had some very old chili flakes, dried bottles of food colouring and a bottle of peppercorns with a broken top.  It fell onto the floor when I moved it so I had to sweep them all up.
Everything looks nice and tidy and I have noted the spices that I need.  Nutmeg is not on the list!

Didn't get any quilting done today other than cut some border strips.  This photo is the quilt I finished last week.  It is going to be draped over the old trunk that is placed so our little Heidi dog can see out the window.  She seems to have more quilts than anyone else in the house.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Have You Hugged Your Quilt today?

I got the items made to be taken tomorrow to the store  that sells them.  It was a bit of a marathon and my neck is quite sore but, they are done.  Now I can back at the quilt I am doing for my husband.  It is nice to be making one for someone.  So often, I find I am making quilts without any purpose other than to make one.  I enjoy the process, of course.  It is fun to see how the colours will work in the pattern, what it looks like when it all comes together but if it then spends its life stored in a cupboard, it does seem a bit pointless. 
It might be okay to climb a mountain because it is there but I like to know that my quilts are going to have a home.  I have recently given away a couple and, although the recipient was grateful, in reality, they were doing me a favour by giving my creation a purpose.
May all your quilts be loved.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Changed of Plans.

It must be the effect of the new year but I have been making good progress in getting some of my old projects finished up.  I am just finishing the binding on one quilt and have hauled out another that I started ages ago.  This last one is for my husband and should go together very quickly as it is a large panel of a moose surrounded by smaller ones of elk, deer and moose.  I thought I would be able to get at it today but the phone rang and changed my priorities. The store where I sell a few items called to say they were running out and needed a new supply.
I am not complaining, of course.  It is nice to have a few more dollars and it won't take me long to get some more things made.  The other nice part of selling these items is that they are made with left over fabric.  I love being able to find uses for my scraps. They most frequently find their way into quilts but the larger bits are put aside for other uses. 
We didn't get any sunshine today but it is only minus 4 so nice for a walk.  I took Heidi for a longer than usual stroll and checked out the tracks of the various little animals that frequent our area.
I am thinking of getting back to my Fiction Friday's next month.  I will let you know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Control Issues

I got the fabric chosen for a block of the month challenge I am doing that is sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine.  I have been dithering about this for a while and finally figured out why.  As I don't know what each of the blocks will look like, I have to trust someone else's design sense.  Even though I know the designer and have bought her patterns, still I dither.  I think I may have control issues!
I almost have this first block done so, hopefully, I am learning to give a bit of control to someone else.
Hubby needed my help getting his truck from the driveway where it has been sitting for a while.  Snow had piled up around it so he decided the best plan was to use the tractor to pull it free.  I removed a lot of the snow while he was hitching up, unhitiching and removing the tractor blade and rehitching.  There is a lot of ice under the snow so it took a bit to get the tractor some traction.  Once everything was ready, I started the truck and drove it out.  I guess we should have checked to see if that worked first.  We did need the tractor for one area so I guess it was good that the truck was chained to it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Excited Mouse.

I just loaded this quilt onto the frame and wanted to share something that I do.  When quilting, I often have problems on the edges as they don't stay flat.  I have found that if I sew a strip of fabric to either end I can either pin it secure or use the side clamps.  I prefer the latter.  Everything stays taught and I can run the pattern off the edge-onto the extra fabric, if I want.
I also add a strip to the top edge which allows me to tuck some under the take up bar keeping it secure and straight for the first row.  My quilts turn out nice and square using this method.  The extra strip is easy to remove after quilting as I use a long stitch to sew it on.  If I have sewn over the edge, I remove the extra stitches.
I should also mention that I don't have a stitch regulator and just a 9 inch harp on my set up so it makes it difficult to just do a basting stitch to hold everything in place.
 I have heard a couple of news reports lately about how bad sitting for long periods of time is for your health.  Of course, we already knew this but I didn't realize just how bad it is.  Even exercising daily does not negate the effects of constantly sitting.  The recommendation is that you stand for at least two minutes every half hour.  I have put a timer by the computer-where I am most likely to spend the most time keeping a chair warm.  When it lets me know 30 minutes have passed, I get up and do something else.  Adding a row to the quilt is the perfect solution.
It has been a nice and sunny day so really enjoyed my walk with Heidi.  We had a little mouse run across the road in front of us which cause a bit of excitement for the dog.  Probably for the mouse as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dance the Watusi.

Our trip to and from Barrie yesterday was with good driving conditions.  My appointment with the specialist started right on schedule and finished early so all that could be good, was.  We did a bit of shopping and was home by 5 p.m.  As we had left at 9.30, it made for a long day.  Road trips that are longer than half an hour create problems for my neck which result in it being sore and stiff and then I get a headache so I wasn't dancing the Watusi (not that I know how) when we got home.
We had dropped our Heidi off at the neighbour's who does her grooming so when we got home we had an excited and extra cute dog.
Still feeling the effects today but am getting some things done.  Hubby went off to play cards so I have had the afternoon to myself.
I finished adding the borders to a quilt and did a bit of tidying as well as taking our dog for a short walk.  I am gradually getting some of my old projects finished.  of course, I do start others but am trying to stay ahead.
We are enjoying a nice sunny day and it is good to have a few days when it isn't snowing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Community Pride

Our community has a thriving arts community.  They have a building where they are able to display and sell their creations, a Facebook (Burk's Falls Art and Crafts Club Art Centre) page and members from all parts of our region.  I joined it last year and today went to the monthly business meeting.  I find that belonging to the club, in addition to it being another venue for promoting and selling my quilts, gives me a chance to meet other artists in the area.  There seems to be representatives of nearly every aspect of art-painters, woodworking, jewelry, soap, hand made cards, scarves, clothing, bags, quilts and much, much more.
I am very proud of the fact that despite the low population we have a disproportionate number of very talented people.  I have in the past mentioned the musicians, writers and actors that also live here.

I believe that if you like something you should support it.  In some cases,  that means buying and promoting and in others, volunteering for. I am the volunteer Public Relations Committee person for the center.
What aspects of your community make you proud? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dead or Not.

Aren't icicles lovely?  These are hanging outside one of my studio windows and the bright sun is making them shimmer. 
I just discovered how dependant I am on my cell phone.  The battery has quit and needs to be replaced so the phone is not working.  I have ordered a new battery and hope it will be here before we leave for a 2 hour plus drive through the snow belt on Thursday.  A friend thinks he has an extra battery which may work in my phone so I will check that out tomorrow.
In the meantime, since Monday morning and now, there has been 3 occasions when I needed the phone.  Now, for those who have their phone permanently attached to their ear, this may seem like a negligible number but it is inconvenient for me.  I rarely use it but, when I want to, I like to know it is there.  I like to know it is there even if I don't need to use it.
Of course, now that I have ordered the battery, the phone has decided to take a charge so whether the replacement arrives in time or not, I may be able to still use this one for a bit longer.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Wrong Fabric

Definitely not spring yet but the sun is bright and quite warm.  My quilt room windows are placed so they catch the winter sun but less of the summer.  On a day like this, the room gets quite warm but when there isn't any sun, I have to put on my little electric fireplace.
I have just been out for our walk and it was nice.  I had to break a trail for Heidi as her short little legs have a hard time plowing through the snow.  She normally hates to follow as she seems to have got the notion that she is the pack leader.  However, she has gradually got the idea that when I hold the leash behind me and tell her to 'stay back' it is for her own good.
I am a bit irritated with some fabric.  I had great hopes of finishing a top today.  All the fabric was chosen, blocks made and sewn together and the first border put on.  I got out the fabric for the last, and widest, border and realized it felt too heavy.  I remember buying this as a backing fabric from an on line quilt store so it is supposed to be good fabric.  I am going to have to find-or buy, something else.  This will go into the drawer that holds my dressmaking fabric.  It will be suitable for a light jacket.
Very frustrating.  I think I have enough fabric left over from the blocks to do a border but will have to take off the other border as it won't work.  Ah, well, it may end up looking better than my first idea.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Norman Rockwell.

I haven't accomplished much today.  Did some shopping and that was about it.  I bought some more fabric-surprise- and will wash it later.  One of the pieces is a panel of Norman Rockwell prints.  They are large enough to make pillows but I think I will cut them apart, put Missouri star blocks  around  as well as another border or two and make a lap quilt.  I have always liked his paintings so this will be a nice addition to the house.  Maybe I will put it on the rocker where I do my hand quilting.

I bought some bird seed/suet bells which I am going to hang once I have finished this.  With all the cold we have been getting, the little feathered creatures need all the help they can get.  I am just trying to think where I can put it that won't tempt the deer.
I have all the blocks made for my tumbler quilt so I will start adding the sashing to it.  I also need to do some more rows on the quilt that is on the frame.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Never a shortage of things to do. Hubby is feeling quite a bit better today so he is able to do his usual chores which include making supper a couple of times a week.
Have you ever browsed through all the Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorials?  I was looking for something and was surprised at how many she has done.  In addition to the quilt patterns, she also has such things as cleaning your sewing machine and explaining quilting terms.  One talented lady.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Another One Finished.

I finished sewing on the binding for this quilt last night.  Today, I have been cutting blocks for another small crib sized quilt.  By the way all the main blocks are the same colour.  I didn't notice how the light changed some of them. the darker ones are the most accurate shade.
Are you surviving the cold?  We were minus 35 with wind chill today but I went for a quick walk anyway.  I put booties on Heidi as well as her warmest blanket and we did a quick jaunt down the driveway and back.
The driveway got a quick plow today so we will be able to get out tomorrow.  He has to come back and use the bucket to move the snow as it is too frozen to be pushed back with a blower.  Once that gets done, hubby should be able to manage again with our tractor. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Squishy Surprise

I am continuing to get things accomplished-probably thanks to the nasty weather.  On Monday, I didn't take my sewing machine to group.  My back was really bothering me and my machine is heavy but the real reason was that I wanted to work on cutting up some of my scraps.  I use a lot of 5 inch squares and I like to have a good pile of them cut and ready to use.  By the time the day was finished,  the scrap bag was half empty and I had a nice pile of squares.  I was going to work on them today but decided to leave it until tomorrow.  It is supposed to be bitterly cold and rather than run the electric heater in the studio, I can take my board and fabric into the kitchen and work on the table.  I did get another 10 tumbler blocks made and am almost ready to decide what fabric I want to use for sashing.
My hubby still isn't feeling well although has been able to tend the chickens and bring in firewood.  I am determined not to get his cold.  So many people have the flu or a cold right now.  Normal for the winter time though, isn't it.
I had a wonderful surprise yesterday.  When I picked up my mail there was a nice squishy package in my slot.  It was a kit from a very nice lady who sent it to me for no reason other than she is a nice lady.  I have it sitting on my coffee table and every time I look at it, I smile.  Isn't it wonderful when someone does something so kind. 
It is snowing so hard right now that I can hardly see down our driveway.  Heidi and I did get out for our walk but it was heavy going.  I had to pick her up and free her little feet of some of the snow once.  House is lovely and warm though so no complaints.

Friday, January 2, 2015


I have had a productive day.  I only had one goal and that was to locate the bag of 5 inch squares that I wanted for my tumbler quilt.  I found that without any problem and that led to pulling out all the other bags with fabric, blocks and scraps.  I have sorted, tossed out and reorganized.  I have discarded a lot of bits and pieces as well as blocks that will never be used in anything, partially completed quilts that won't be quilted and fabric that makes me wonder why I've kept it. 
This will all go to a recycling place where it will, no doubt, be loved by someone.
It took me all morning and part of the afternoon to accomplish this.  Then I cut binding for a quilt that I finished at least two months ago and have attached it.  I will hand sew that tonight while watching the news.
It is nice to start the new year with a feeling of accomplishment and organization.  I am sure that by the time we are half way through this new year, I will need to do this again.  We do seem to accumulate, don't we?

Tomorrow, my goal is to put away all the Christmas decorations.  I discovered another method of recycling this year.  A friend asked if she could have our tree (real) when we were finished with it as her goats will nibble on it.  I love it when my cast offs can be put to use by someone else.