Sunday, January 13, 2019

Zentangle Workshop and To-Do List Update

I joined the Ancaster Modern Quilt Guild, partly because I know some of the members, and partly because they seem to have a pretty vibrant program.  Last Saturday I attended a Zentangle Workshop hosted by them, presented by Kim Mastromartino.  You can find her on Facebook as The Inspired Quilter.

Here's some of the little cards we were working on...

Here's my same card after I (maybe?) finished it.  The class was lots of fun AND INSPIRING.  Which we all need, especially in January.  Right?

TO-DO LIST
Yep.  Knocked another item off my list.  The mending & hemming item - complete.
My plan for today was to start the drapes, however that was slightly interrupted by ... oh, let's call it TECHNOLOGY. This is how my day has progressed so far:

  • 7 am, go for a pee then crawl back into bed.
  • 8 am, try to shut off the alarm before it wakes DH up, but inadvertently turn the radio on.  Oops.  Sorry.  Get up.  Let Sadie out of her crate and give her a morning massage.  Lucky dog.
  • 8:03, take my morning pills and head out with Sadie for a pyjama walk.  She's recovering from knee surgery back in November, so in the morning she gets a massage, Range Of Motion exercises, and then a short walk.  Usually it's DH who takes her, but sometimes it's me - jammies & housecoat, yoga pants, ear muffs & winter coat.  It's surprisingly refreshing.  And I really Do.Not.Care. if people call me the weird old woman out in her pyjamas.
  • 8:30, coffee & internet - read the forums, check the news, decide to investigate the KETO diet, and message on/off/on/off/on/off...etc. with the Beach Girls.  Discuss diets with them and pretend I have no idea what they're talking about when they mention the number of calories in alcohol.
  • 10:00, beg DH to go get us breakfast from McDonalds.  Continue internetting & messaging while waiting on food.  Decide that KETO is never going to happen in this house.  DH would not eat 90% of the required foods.  Salmon?  Avocado?  ZUCCHINI?!**?!
  • 11:00, breakfast is finished, go down to the "real" computer.  Search out "low carb diet", print out recipes that have a slim chance of passing muster.  (ha ha - "slim" chance - get it?)  Let's face it - if we're going to continue having McDonalds for breakfast we need to cut down somewhere else.
  • 1:45, finish and send the letter of concern to one of my sales reps - yeah, I'm not particularly happy about something.
  • 2:30, update the Caledonia guild blog after having gone through the photos I took at the January meeting.
  • 2:45, start working on my blog.
Did you notice anywhere in that timetable a place where I mentioned "brush teeth" or "get washed" or "put on real clothes"?  So, here it is, 3:30 in the afternoon, and I have yet to make myself presentable.  Do YOU think I'm going to get those drapes started today?  

Stay tuned for the next instalment of The Caledonia Quilter's "Never-Done-Because-She-Won't-Get-Off-The-Damned-Computer List".

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Christmas VacationTo-Do List Wrapup

Chic Picnic - quilted & bound & labeled.  Many of the fabrics in this have special meaning for me, so the whole time I was hand stitching the binding I just felt... happy.
The fabrics are so busy that the time spent to custom quilt this was wasted, but since it's mine... I figure I'm worth it.

I used up some random fabrics on the back.

In keeping with the "word" theme of the quilt, I included my QUILT GIRL comic strip yardage.  (Spoiler alert:  she saved the day.)
I made two kids drag-around quilts which I'll donate to the Catholic Children's Aid.  A big pat-myself-on-the-back for the mitered striped border on the right.

It was a few years ago that a friend gave me the panel, the border print, and a half meter of the stripe.  I had the remnants of a whole bolt of the stripe in my own stash, so I used it on the back.
Sixteen placemats quilted for Meals on Wheels.

I completed eight out of fifteen items on my list, and the day is not over yet.  I've already taken Sadie for her walk (brrr - chilly wind!) and DH has supper under control, so this afternoon I will tackle the mending pile. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Progress on the To-Do List, and Random Stuff

As you can see, I am making some headway on my list of "things intended to keep me amused" for two weeks.
That pantry job took waaay longer than expected.  Several  years ago, well ok - more like a decade ago, I bought hanging files to try and get myself better organized with paperwork.  I set up folders for every month.  And folders for "vacation", and folders for research for Mom - first for Retirement Homes and then later for Long Term Care Homes.  There were folders for banking and folders for paperwork that I needed to read.  And more folders for ... more stuff.  That THING was taking up about a foot and a half of shelf space.  Not only was it not serving the purpose it was intended for, I also piled more junk on top of it.  Junk which was always falling down, and then I'd swear, and have to pick it all up off the floor.  Well.  You can probably see what the problem was.  That one job took several hours because I had to go through all that STUFF.  I burned a ton of paperwork in the fireplace - things with names and/or account numbers.  Another ton of paperwork junk went in the recycle bin.  I was left with a tiny, tiny pile of "stuff" that I think I need to keep.

Here's the table topper, with quilting AND binding complete.  Those inside miters were a challenge.
Next week (hopefully) I will show you the Chic Picnic with quilting and binding complete.  The quilting is done and the binding is on.  It is just a matter of finishing the hand stitching.

Now we can move on to the Random Stuff.

  • My dog, darling Sadie, has been on Prednisone for many months.  She licks and licks, for no apparent reason, until her skin is raw.  The vet thinks it's allergies, and prednisone keeps that issue down to a dull roar, but I know it's not good for her.  Now that dope (?) is legal here in Canada I wanted to get her some CBD oil to see if that would calm her down and I could reduce the steroid intake.  Technically in Ontario we are only allowed to "order" cannabis products from "the Government Store" (isn't there a song about that???).  But there are medical marijuana shops all over the place.  The cops will occasionally go in and bust everybody, confiscate all the product, and next thing you know the store is back open.  Anyhow...DH and I were driving down Upper James St. in Hamilton, when he whips his head around and says "isn't that a pot shop?".  Well yes, yes it is.  It is very well hidden from the cops by the BIG NEON SIGN out front.  So I turned the car around and zipped into the parking lot.  OMG.  What a sketchy place.  I'm glad I wasn't alone.  But they DID have CBD oil, so Sadie's been getting 2 drops per day - one at noon and one at bedtime for two weeks.  I've reduced the prednisone from 3 pills to 2 pills and so far, so good.  Now I smile at her and call her "my dopey dog".  ha ha ha.
  • A super-nice woman in town loaned us a dog magazine because it had an article about dogs and CBD oil.  Well, there was a fun article in there about making dog beds from old tires.  Seriously???  Yup.  Here's a link - now you too can go down the rabbit-hole of weird internet things.  hah... see you next week. 😀
  • I've recently been muttering to myself about how I never get comments on my blog and only a few remarks on facebook when I put up a new blog post.  Well, hell.  There were a dozen comments sitting on Blogger waiting to be approved by me, going back several months.  I apologize to you commenters!  Blogger used to send a notification when comments came in but apparently that's been discontinued.  I will pay more attention.  I promise.
  • As I mentioned, I'm cutting my workload down a little bit so I'll have more (ahem) leisure time.  I have started to make up quilt kits with patterns that I want to make.  HERE is the latest one that I've saved to make with the three charm packs I bought at Missouri Star Quilt Company in 2017.  I also still have, from that same trip, 2 MORE charm packs and two layer cakes that I haven't done anything with yet.  geez Louise - stop buying fabric!!!
I hope the New Year's Baby brings us all peace, love, joy, and money in 2019.  See you next year!!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Vacation: Port-au-Stay-At-Home

The winter holiday is here.  Time to stay at home and get some sh*t done.  And relax, too, of course.
I started off my vacation by heading out on a field trip with a friend.

First stop Dundas, to the Carnegie Gallery.  They have a Christmas Market going on right now, with many artisans selling their wares.  There are no pics from inside the gallery - I was trying to avoid getting arrested.  Or being yelled at.  Not even a gentle scolding.  While we were in Dundas we made a stop at McGuire's Cheese Shop.  For the past several years I've apparently been making sure my pant size goes up a wee bit every Christmas so I treated myself to three lovely hunks of deliciousness.  A lemon stilton, a stout cheddar, and whatever it was they had on sample...it's from a local cheeserie and was absolutely delicious so I added that to my basket.  (It's also what I had for supper with a side of crackers and a glass of wine.  Not necessarily a healthy supper.)  However, in my defence:  we had lunch at the Bangkok Spoon where I had a S.A.L.A.D. with my meal.  So not a totally disreputable food day.

Next on the agenda was the Waterford Museum to see the exhibit of Red Cross Quilts.  This is on until Feb. 15, 2019 so try and get there if you're into quilts.
Excellent exhibit!!
We wandered around the museum to see what else they had out for display.
Hah. 😀 Thank goodness we have better equipment to stitch with today.
The museum is kind of next door to the quilt shop, so we also popped over to Quilt Junction and dropped a few dollars.  And bumped into a quilting buddy in the shop.

My vacation list of things that need attention, in no particular order:
I'm only on day three of "vacation" - this is quilted and off the TFUQ list.  And thank you, but NO, don't remind me that now, day three, is already past twelve noon and I should get my arse in gear.
Binding inside angles is something I haven't tackled before so there's a bit of a learning curve.  The YouTube video I watched (OMG, I swear you can learn anything on YouTube) demonstrates hand stitching the miter on the front side first, then folding the binding over to the back and hand stitching the back miter closed, and THEN stitching the binding down.  I need to figure that out, but working on BLACK is not my favorite thing anymore.

I'll keep you posted with my to-do list progress...

Sunday, December 16, 2018

More Critters On Quilts, and Quilt Scheduling

I showed some "animal" quilts a couple of weeks ago, in the post that degenerated, somehow, into a story about bullying.  Today I am being UPBEAT!

First, we have a moose.

Next, a bunch of sheep.

A butterfly.

A Yeti.

And feet.  This one cracked me up... it's the BACK of the Yeti quilt.

I have to show you the whole butterfly quilt, though.  It's really pretty.

Here's a clip of the back...it's Minkee.  The quilting shows beautifully on this stuff, and it is sooo soft.  Use caution, though.  Sometimes teensy bits of the fluff will pull up to the top of the quilt during quilting.  The Minkee fibers get caught in the twist of the thread.

I'm sure you are all wondering how the, um, procedure went last week.  Fine.  I'm clean as a whistle and don't have to go back for ten years.  Yee haw. 
Scheduling of that was great too. 

  • Monday - prep.  No food & lots of toilet.
  • Tuesday - colonoscopy then light food for remainder of the day
  • Wednesday - guild pot luck supper
QUILT SCHEDULING
As you may have noticed, I'm currently scheduling work for April.  Why am I so busy???  Well, I'm not exactly busier.
  1. In the past, people would drop off the quilt that was on the schedule, and they would often bring another, unscheduled quilt with them.  I would quilt both of them, even though only one was penciled in on my calendar.  I was forever behind schedule and would spend extra time at the machine in the evening.  NOW, these quilts get added to the queue and I'm working hours that are closer to what I want.  This hasn't improved my housekeeping efforts, but maybe next year I can work on that. 
  2. In the past, I would schedule three quilts per week.  This was the BEST. TIP. EVER. and I thank Jane Berry for the suggestion - it's been working very well for years.  However, I am 62 and would like to spend more time piecing and playing in the garden (aka weeding).  So the schedule for 2019 only allows for TWO quilts per week now.  Obviously, that means a longer wait time.  In 2018 I started by blocking off an empty week every couple of months.  One in February to clean the house and enjoy the Beach Girls here for Winterruption.  One in the spring to get the garden cleaned up and planted.  One in the late summer for harvesting & canning of produce.  One for the France trip.  One in October for Tobermory with the Beach Girls.  
After I finish up the December quilts (3 for binding today, then this week will be 2 more pantos and 1 custom) then I'm 'closed' for Christmas holidays.  I have plently of mending that's piled up the last few months. DH had to resort to buying a few new shirts. 😀  I have bedroom drapes to make, and I want to paint the dining room...although that may get hired out because of my bad elbow.  I have several tops of my own that need quilting, and a pile of guild placemats to be quilted for Meals on Wheels.  I think that will keep me plenty busy for two weeks.

BUSINESS TIP
If YOU are a longarm quilter and you want more business, make sure you have some kind of presence on the web.  Several new customers contacted me this past year because they found me by doing a Google search.  I regularly refer people to other quilters when I cannot accommodate their time frame, but I don't know everyone who quilts for hire.  People should be able to find you as easily as they find me.  

Sunday, December 9, 2018

This Week's Excitement, and Some Good Books

So, yeah.  This week's excitement.  Do you recognize this stuff?

Uh huh.  Colonoscopy is booked for Tuesday.  Which means I'll be spending Monday on the toilet.
So. Much. Fun. 
If you missed my FIRST colonoscopy stories in 2010...
HERE is the prep.
HERE is the day.

SOME GOOD BOOKS
I've had a string of really good books from the library.  I read most books on my tablet, so I get an email from the library when a book I've had "on hold" arrives for me.  It gets to be very awkward when two or three books arrive within days of each other.  Books that were wait-listed cannot be renewed - they just poof disappear on their expiry date.  At times like that, housework goes out the window (although, to be honest - housework's proper place IS out the window).

The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn.  This is about a network of women spies.  The story flips back and forth, to cover connected stories...between WWI and 1947.  It includes lots of suspense, and enough romance to keep things interesting.

This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel.   I was engrossed by the end of the third paragraph.  Seriously!  This book grabbed me and did not let go for one single minute - beginning to end.  It's about a family: mom, dad, five kids.  The youngest child turns out to be transgender.  It's funny, emotional, heartbreaking, romantic, and incorporates a running fairy tale.  An excellent story from cover to cover.

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, by Louise Miller. This book also grabbed me right away.  After all, I was just in France on a chef's tour, and I entertain you with enough cooking and zucchini stories that you KNOW I enjoy time in my kitchen.  The chef in question is a woman who creates an, um, incident at her place of employment.  She beats a hasty retreat to Vermont looking for a little solace from her long-time friend.  I haven't finished this yet, but the first half of the book has been great.





Sunday, December 2, 2018

Scrappy Love & Social Outings With Guild Members

I love scrappy quilts.  Love, love, love.

Quilts that are visually busy just need a pantograph.  Something simple and blendy.

As you (should) know, I work at home.  Alone.  In my basement.  DH would dispute the "basement" part of that with a black/grey/white argument that "it's not a basement".  When we first moved to the country he corrected me for years when I said "our street".  According to him, it's not a street, it's a road.  Picky, picky, picky.
So ok,  I will clarify:  I work at home.  Alone.  In a room that is  below grade.  When I have an opportunity to go OUT I usually snap it up.  Even if I'm in the minority... a longarm quilter in a room full of hand quilters.  Here I am with a few members of the Binbrook guild, working on a quilt that was given to us and will be donated to a good cause.  One of our members was generous enough to donate her living room for a few weeks.  I'm in!  One day a week, three weeks in a row.
If you have never hand quilted, here is a primer.
 HAND QUILTING 101:
You push the needle down into the quilt.  When you feel the needle POKE YOUR FINGER you know it is time to push the needle back UP through the quilt.  Yeah.  Do that for four hours.  Ouch.