Thursday, April 30, 2015


I had a 9.15 appointment this morning for a CT scan.  We got to the hospital shortly after 9.00 and I was taken in right away.  Had the scan and was ready to leave by 9.15.  Nice to live in a smaller community even if I have to drive to another one for medical procedures.
After we got home, I planted more of my garden.  This is really early in the season for this year but we are experiencing near summer temperatures so I am taking advantage of it.  I will wait another week before doing the tomatoes though.
My hubby is outside working on the area where the new chicken coop will go.  It is going to be multi purpose as it will also house turkeys and one milk goat.  Despite 7 years of living in this rural area, I still find myself feeling bemused by it all.  Moving from a large city of a million people to somewhere with no mail delivery, garbage pick up, paved road or stores is quite a change.  We only have to drive 10 minutes for those amenities but it is still much different from everything being either at your front door or across the road.
I think it must be more of an adjustment to make the change in the opposite direction.  When I was still a child, we moved from the country to a village and I can still remember being awed by electric lights and non stop traffic going by our front door. It is a good thing I like change.  I have met people who still live in the same community where they were born and raised.  I confess to finding that bizarre.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nature being Nature

I had my acupuncture treatment this afternoon and now I am tired.  It is hard to understand why having some tiny needles poked into various parts of your body would make you feel as though you have been hit by a truck but, it does with me.  I am just finishing up a few things and then going to bed early.  I did get a quilt pinned and started the quilting.  I am doing this one on my table machine in a shadow pattern.  The quilt is just a small table topper so will be done quickly.
Tomorrow I have to leave early to be at an appointment at the hospital for a scan.  All this medical stuff is for the whiplash injury to my neck which happened eight years ago.  Every so often I remember the comment of a student in my driver ed class when I was talking about the dangers of  braking suddenly in front of another vehicle to frighten a driver following to closely.  The student said he didn't care if he got rear ended because he could then collect the insurance money and be set for life. 
The reality is that I am still waiting for a settlement and I doubt if it will cover expenses never mind set me up for life.  Still many people are in a much worse situation so I try not to complain.  Or at least not frequently.
Hubby and I saw an  interesting sight today.  We were sitting outside enjoying a cup of tea when I saw a small hawk land in a nearby tree.  It stayed there for quite a bit then suddenly swooped to the driveway edge.  After a few minutes, it reappeared carrying something in its talons and flew away-back to its nest I presume. The little spring peepers (frogs) made a audible appearance a couple of nights ago and the air is full of their high pitched singing.  Spring is here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Threads Count

We are having a lovely, summer like day.  I thought we might go from winter to summer without much in between and today gives evidence of that.  I sat outside for a while-actually lay on a lounge and dozed.  I have to make sure my skin is protected as I burn so easily but still enjoyed the sunshine.  I took Heidi for a quick walk after that.  I don't have a lot of energy today as I woke up too early.  I am going to have to put down the blinds so the sun doesn't wake me before I want.
I learnt something new today that you might find interesting.  I needed to get some information on thread count in fabric as I saw it given in a different format.  We are used to seeing a single number; 600, for example, that would be in bed sheets.  This quilting fabric was given as a multiplication: 68X68.  I guessed that the figures  represented the number of horizontal and vertical threads in, probably, a square inch.  However, if you multiplied the given numbers it didn't make sense.
A little searching gave me the correct answer.  The numbers aren't multiplied but added.  I guess the X means across but that doesn't really make sense either.  In any case, I further discovered that when the numbers are the same, it indicates that there isn't any flaws in the weave.  Quilting cotton generally starts at 60 and goes up from there.  The higher the number, the tighter the weave.  Batiks are 100.
Knowing this will help me in determining if I am getting a good quality fabric that will allow for handling during the quilting process and stay intact after washing.
A weave that is too tight such as in bed sheets cause problems.  It is next to impossible to hand quilt, can dull needles and cause skipped stitches.  I would suggest if finances make it difficult to use good quality quilting fabric that you stay with the lowest thread count sheets.
I am sure we have all had the experience of spending a lot of time and money on fabric only to find it impossible to work with.  Another factor to be considered is the origin of the cotton.  The United States is good but Egyptian is the best.
Of course, not all this information is given either on the bolt or at the point of purchase but I now know what questions to ask.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bear Free

I don't seem to be getting anything for Fiction Friday.  I have been drawing a blank lately.  In fact, I have been missing getting anything at all posted on the last weekday.  I am not sure why.  I think I have been so focused on my quilting/sewing projects that I forget what day of the week it is.  I have started doing a baby blanket.  I am appliqueing a bear in the centre and then will do some pieced blocks around it in bright colours.
Here is a pattern of the bear.  You can use it for whatevery you like. Just click on the picture to photocopy it.
We did a little work outside today as the temperatures are returning to normal.  Hubby has started cutting wood for next winter's heat. If we get the weather predicted for tomorrow, I plan on raking the yard and flower gardens.

I would love to see a photo of what you make.  If it doesn't print off at copy paper size, let me know and I will send you the file.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Thought I had better start this earlier today.  yesterday after supper and watching the news, I sat down to write and started feeling really ill.  I went to bed and stayed there until this morning.  I hadn't slept well the night before and, for some reason, my blood pressure really drops when that happens.
Today, I have been trying to catch up.  I have a craft sale a week this Saturday and need to get some things ready for that plus the usual odds and ends that need doing.
The weather here has been a bit discouraging as the temperature has dropped below freezing again and the sun seems to have gone somewhere else.  I am sure I will soon be complaining about the heat but, right now our warmth is coming from the wood stove.

This photo is of the class I teach once a month.  As you can see, the ladies are busily working.
I just finished a Skype chat with a group of friends who are on a retreat this weekend.  I couldn't be with them so this is one way of being a part of it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Machine versus Bed

We have finished with the maple syrup making for another season.  We got most of it filtered and in jars today.  The rest is for us so doesn't have to be done right away.  Now that is done, I should be able to get back on schedule.
Yesterday, our hydro was out for a while so quilt group was cancelled.  Hubby and I decided to go to Huntsville as they still had power and we had planned to go today anyway.  We did the usual; bought groceries, had lunch and, of course, I purchased fabric.  I was quite pleased to get what I needed at a good price.  I had to get backing for a small quilt and found a perfect match on the discount table.  A little searching resulted in backing for a baby quilt and fabric for some craft projects.  They were all 5.00 a meter with a further 50 cents off and I had a five dollar coupon.  A great day for a quilter.
The hydro came back on about an hour after we got home so I was able to catch up on my e mails and using the sewing machine.  Every time the hydro goes out, I say I am going to buy a treadle sewing machine.  Hubby tells me that he isn't going to add on to the studio but I think an antique machine would look great in the guest bedroom.  Of course I will have to put a smaller bed in there but I am sure our company will understand!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Happy Hoofer

At last.  I am a happy hoofer.  I am able to walk through the bush again.  There is still snow but both the dog and I found enough clear areas that we were able to have a nice time exploring and looking at how many small branches have been knocked down by the wind.  There is also plenty of evidence that this area is a winter home for the deer.  Eventually all that fertilizer will disappear into the ground.
We finally have some little yellow star shaped flowers in the north garden and the two on the east side are free of snow.  I did some gentle raking of the lawn but didn't want to do anything to rigorous and pull out the grass roots.  We have a lot of mole damage so that will have to be seen to and more grass sown.  Our lawn is certainly not anything that will be seen in a landscaping magazine except as a 'before' illustration but I do like to have an area where we can sit.
I have been working at a quilt top that uses 5 inch squares and have got nearly used up all I have.  I will keep them in a bag until I have another pile of fabric charms. I am using MSQC Double Slice pattern for the blocks and then will put sashing around them. I also need to be thinking about some quick projects to make for the first craft show of the year. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Favourite Word

I have been busier than usual the past couple of days.  Hubby is making maple syrup and my part of the process is to supply him with food and tea.  This involves a few trips a day through the mud, soft snow and ice to where he has the boiling area set up. It is hard work for him so I am not complaining (or at least not loudly) as I find the sap making work really boring.  It mostly consists of standing and stirring.
I have also had a few more meetings.  I had a meeting for the executive members of our Art Centre this morning and a doctor's appointment in a few minutes.  In between those two meetings, I have been working on the centre's web page.  It is still pretty basic but you can check it out at if you wish.  I will have products listed eventually so people are able to shop on line.

I have had some time to look over two quilt books that arrived in the mail today.  I will take time later to mark the projects I want to make.

It is an ongoing battle to limit the projects I take on.  I have got pretty good at using my favourite word when necessary.  If I don't say 'no', I could find myself on the go 20 hours a day and not a moment for quilting.

I heard someone say that you had better do all the things you hope to accomplish before you retire because you won't have time after.  I certainly agree that can easily be the case.  So far, I am managing to avoid it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Goals

This may seem like an odd goal but I am trying to use up all the fabric that is currently in my stash.  By 'use up' I mean finding patterns for it and making kits.  I have 3 kits done so far and made a small wall hanging/table topper.  The accumulation hasn't reduced noticeably and, of course, I have to buy fabric to go with some of the kits but it is fabric that has a purpose beside looking good on my shelves.
My collection of metallic fabrics is going to be the hardest to use.  What on earth do you do with all that glitter and why on earth do I keep buying it?  Well the answer to the latter part of the question is that I like sparkly things.  Doesn't matter if it is fabric or stick on fake jewels, if it sparkles, I want it.
My computer monitor, cell phone, sewing machine and a lot of other items that can't fend for themselves have sticky gems adorning them. 
An unexpected benefit of my goal is that I am trying new colours in old pattern favourites. It is amazing how different a pattern can look using a new colour scheme.  Often the simplest pattern can be quite pleasing when a person steps out of their comfortable box.
This little table topper used up some of my glittery fabric.  The fabric that looks pink is actually more of a dusty rose shade.  I didn't have a grey that was light enough so I used the reverse side of the fabric for the border and corner blocks.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Fiction Friday: Otter

" Let me do it, Nana.  I can do it.  Let me."  Judy smiled at her granddaughter, turned the speed down on the mixer and handed it to her.  She knew that there would, probably, soon be batter all over the table and the little girl but it didn't matter.
Four year old Otter was the delight of her life.  The little girl was so much like her mother had been at that age and, for Judy, it was like having another chance at raising a little one using all the experience she had gained over the years.  She hadn't planned on being responsible for a child at her age but when Otter's mother had said that she was going to give the baby away as soon as it was born, she knew she couldn't let that happen.  the thought of having a grandchild somewhere being raised by people she didn't know, never being able to see her, buy her gifts, take her to Disneyland was unbearable.
She had hoped that Carly would change her mind when she saw her beautiful daughter but it didn't happen.  As soon as she was able, she was gone.  The only thought she gave to the child was to name her. Judy hadn't seen her since.  She disappeared back into the life that had captured her when she was only sixteen.  Carly had suddenly reappeared after a year, pregnant with Otter, without any explanation of where she had been, what she had been doing or who was the father of her child. And now she had disappeared once more.
Every time a girl of Carly's age was found dead or was involved in an accident, Judy waited for the police to come to the door.  The not knowing where she was was the worst.  She finally decided that she couldn't live with that constant fear and decided just  try and be thankful for what she had. the presence of her granddaughter made living up to that decision much easier.
Otter's name suited her.  The little one was affectionate and curious about everything around her.  Her large brown eyes were always finding something new. She loved different experiences and often tried to do things that were beyond her years.
Judy had recently started teaching her how to sew and the little girl was thrilled to have her own basket of fabrics to sew together on her child size machine.  It hadn't taken long for all her dolls to have their own blankets and even Thomas the cat was given a special quilt for his bed.
Her skills were far beyond her years and Judy thought she might be ready for a bigger project.  The next morning, after the house work had been done (and the bed remade after Otter's help), she asked the little one if she would like to make a real quilt.  One for her own bed.  "Oh, yes, Nana.  I can do it.  Let me make a big quilt."  Judy got out her collection of books and showed Otter some of the photos.  She had purposely marked down the pages with the simpler designs because she knew her little adventurer would zero in on the most complicated one otherwise.  Pattern chosen it was time to buy the fabrics.  A new quilt store had opened up in town and Judy decided this would be a good time to check it out.
Otter bounced through the doors and immediately stopped and stared at all the fabric.  "Nana, look.  Isn't it beautiful."  Yes, it is, princess.  Why don't you see if you can pick out four colours that you like the best."  As she watched the child carefully looking at each fabric, she became aware that the young woman at the counter was staring at Otter.  "Oh, I am sorry. She is a beautiful child and she reminds me so much of my brother's girlfriend", the woman said.  "This is a very rude question but are you related to a woman named Carly?"  "Carly?  Carly Matthews? " Judy asked.  "Yes, that is her name."  "Carly is my daughter.  Otter's mother. How do you know her.  I'm sorry, you said your brother's girlfriend.  I haven't seen her since Otter was born.  I didn't know where she was."  Judy knew she probably sounded odd, crazy perhaps, but she couldn't believe that she had just walked into a store and found someone who knew her daughter.
"I am sorry that.... well.  I'm just sorry.  I don't know her very well but Brad, my brother, said she had gone through a difficult time and was just getting her life back together.  Do you, I mean would you like me to give you her phone number?"
Judy thought for a moment. "No, that is kind of you but I think I will let her get in contact when she is ready.  If you think it wise, you can let her know you've met me and that I've said that I would love to see her when she is ready.  For now, I am just glad to know she is alright and someone knows where she is.  Now, there are a pair of very curious ears not very far away so perhaps we can see if she has made her choices."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Line Greetings

I have had a very pleasant day.  I cut up quite a bit of fabric for various patterns, worked up a new colourway for one of my own designs which I want to make again and answered dozens of birthday emails and greetings on Facebook.
Being able to quickly send a message to someone is, I think, one of the great advantages of social media.  I rarely send cards any more and, if I do, it is usually to someone who doesn't have a computer.  I don't mind in the least having my family and friends wish me a happy birthday, Merry Christmas or whatever on line.  Some might think it impersonal but I don't.  The individual still has to take time to do it and, while it doesn't take as much effort as buying, writing and sending a card through the mail, it does still involve thought and action.  I know that I would not have heard from the majority of people that greeted me if they had not been able to do it on line.  And I would have missed knowing they cared.
Of course, I still do enjoy getting cards in the mail and a number of people sent them.  We also got a lovely, hand made Easter card from our grandchildren and that was extra special.
Hubby was able to gather some sap today as the buckets are starting to fill.  After what, for a while, appeared to be a bad season, it does look as though we will get enough of the sweet stuff for our needs, and to give to friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

the Right of Way

I took Heidi for her walk this morning after breakfast rather than the usual 3 p.m.  The ground was still frozen so we were able to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about muddy paws or boots.  I think I will try and make this time our routine now for that reason.  Also, as we get into spring, the bugs are less in the morning.
Later on I went into the village to do some errands.  The store that sells my products needed some more items so that was my main reason for the trip plus delivering eggs to a couple of customers.  I decided to pick up some groceries at the same time.  While going to the grocery store, I passed Blu Moon (the shop that sells my products) and suddenly remembered I hadn't brought the items with me.  I had to go in anyway to pick up my check and buy some more goat soap but I was so irritated with myself.
Hubby had to go into  the village later in the day so he dropped everything off for me.
When I was driving into town, I saw an interesting sight.  I had to stop to let a deer cross the road and stayed put for a few seconds as there is usually at least one more following.  Sure enough, another one came to the edge of the road, stopped and looked at me.  I could almost hear him thinking 'are you giving me the right of way?'  I stayed put so he crossed as did another 3 or 4 behind him (probably a she, actually).  The deer in this area are so used to traffic and the drivers to them that you can almost bet if one gets hit it will be by a tourist.
When hubby cam home he brought me an African Violet-my favourite house plant.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Reason for the Season.

Definitely a Spring day today.  It has been quite warm and sunny until just recently.  When I took Heidi for her walk-dodging as much of the mud as possible, you could feel the warmth in the air and I noticed some buds starting to appear on the trees.
We just got back in time as it is now raining.
I have had a busy day.  I repotted some tomato plants as they had outgrown the ones were we started the seeds.  After I cleaned up the mess from that, I planted some stevia seeds. This will be my first attempt on growing these plants so will see how it goes.
I have been quilting all day since and have finished the last wall hanging for our church.  We will put them up tomorrow.
Now I am going to start setting out the other patterns I want to make, cutting fabric for them and putting it all together into kits.  If I need fabric, I will note that down. Perhaps doing this will cut down on the 'some day' decision making when it comes to patterns I like.
These are some of the photos I took when we went for a drive last Sunday.
Because of the holiday and expected company, there won't be a post tomorrow.
I hope you all have a blessed and safe weekend and, as we say at Christmas, 'Remember the Reason for the Season,

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Threads of Life

I have frequently mentioned the Burk's Falls Village Quilters as they are the local group to which I belong.  They are, as is usual with quilters, a wonderful bunch of women and we enjoy being together for the conversation as much as for the quilting.  When I have to miss a Monday, it feels as though I have been away for months before the next quilt day rolls around.
Often our get togethers extend past the Mondays when we go to quilt shows or visit in each other's homes.  Because we are all around the retirement age (some getting there, others past) we have the usual age related conversations and experiences.  People get ill or suffer from injuries.  A few times death has reached out it's icy fingers and touched us.
This week, we got news that left us all shocked and sorrowful.  The husband of one of our members died suddenly and she had a heart attack because of it. All day there were phone calls and e mails as news was shared, discussions held of how best to help and show our support .  I know we all felt like dashing to our friend and enveloping her in sympathetic hugs. 
In the midst of this there were appointments to be kept and the usual daily activities that had to be done.  And, I suppose, tending to these details were the best thing for us as it was a reminder that even in the midst of intense sorrow, life goes on.  Our friend will, no doubt, discover this as well once the immediacy of loss has past and the future, with its uncertainties has to be faced.
It is wonderful belonging to a group of caring people.  There is an added security in knowing that you won't face difficulties on your own.  Just as a quilt is held together by thread, so too is life held together by friends.
I hope you have many such friends in your life.