Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What to do at 5 am?

On Monday I had one of those mornings when the clock (for some reason), was reading 4 am when I woke up. Don't you feel like you're in a time warp when that happens? I knew that was too early to get up so I lay in bed for another hour. At 5 I gave in to the brain and got out of bed. Silently tip-toed down to my workroom. Decided I just HAD TO START A PROJECT. Geez, I need my head read.

Anyhow - this is it - the new messenger bag which I will take on my Asia trip. It should be roomy enough for all my assorted currencies (yens, bhats, Singapore dollars, Canadian dollars, American travellers cheques). And plenty of room left over for my language translators, city tour/information books, currency converter calculator. And, oh yea, lipstick and hand sanitizer and maybe a water bottle or two.
Outside fabrics - all nice 'sophisticated' blacks & browns. Not really my style, so....

Inside fabrics - dog cartoons, red flowers and lime green bead chain fabrics. Much more the 'real me'.

Remember me showing you the 'challenging' quilt I had to quilt? Well, I've finished that.
It turned out incredibly well, considering the shirred sashing and the ruffled borders.

But I also had a really pretty one to work on. Itsy bitsy piecing - it started as an Oh My Gosh quilt.

I also quilted up a Quilt of Valour for one of our guild members. I'm very sorry to say I've been advised that the program is looking for quilts NOW, so I think mine will be sent off this week.

And I've named my new personal assistant Threddy Krueger. The p.a. is definitely male - when I tell it to clean it grumbles and squawks, then stumbles around for a minute before it gets started.
Sadie was circling the enemy - she does not like vacuum cleaners AT ALL.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


How was your Christmas? We brought Mom home to stay overnight on Christmas Eve then we went to my brother's for turkey dinner. My brother truly believes that the sun rises and sets on his wife, so he took her to Paris, France for her birthday. Jealous? Me too.
Anyhow, look what she brought back for me! I can't wait to have somewhere to go that will require me bringing my slippers so I can show these babies off. I love the hat so much that I'm wearing it around the house - keeps the furnace down, eh? They are hand made from felted wool.

It took some convincing but DH finally realized that I TRULY did want a personal assistant for Christmas.

Here's another apron that's been gifted and opened.

This is the stainless steel tree that DH made for the nephew's fiancee. Apparently she's been sending prayers out to the universe for a while now.

We are laying low today. Queasy stomachs, headaches, chills. Did we poison ourselves? I don't think so. Maybe we picked up a crummy bug somewhere.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Apron & a Finished Quilt

Here is the apron I sent to Margaret in her Christmas package. Now that she's opened it, I can post a pic.

This is the last quilt I needed to finish up before Christmas. I hope that doesn't mean I need to start baking.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Here is some information I've collected from various news sources. Proof positive that the world has indeed gone crazy. This information is just obscene.

RBC Gord Nixon Salary $1,400,000 Bonus $4,000,000 Total Annual Compensation $5,400,000.

Saturday 23 February 2008 TORONTO: Toronto Dominion Bank has announced that CEO Ed Clark has received compensation worth $14.2 million last year, up from nearly $12 million in 2006, partly in recompense for his decision to keep the bank clear of the subprime mortgage debacle.

GM's Rick Wagoner's total compensation for 2007 was $15.7 million. In 2007, Wagoner received $3.4 million in salary and cash incentives. In addition, Wagoner received almost $700,000 "other compensation," which includes services such as personal security and use of corporate jets.

Ford boss Alan Mulally's was almost $22.8 million. Mulally was paid $9 million and got $1.4 million in "other compensation," which includes services such as personal security and use of corporate jets.

In terms of pay, that put them in the top quarter of CEOs in the Standard & Poor's 500 index -- while their companies were considerably further down the ladder. GM ranked 190th in the S&P 500 in stock market value last year, and Ford was No. 233.

April 2007: GM also did not award its workers bonuses or profit-sharing checks last year (2006), when it lost $2 billion, a significant improvement over the $10.4 billion it lost in 2005.

Do you want stats on what the autoworkers make?
link here

From a July 2006 news article:

How big can CEO pay packages get? In some cases, they're breathtaking. Auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach drove his pay package to $33.3 million US last year. CNR's Hunter Harrison rode the rails for $56 million. Potash Corp.'s William Doyle made an earthy $22 million. Telus CEO Darren Entwistle phoned home with his $14.1 million.

But even those bulging pay packets paled next to the one awarded to Hank Swartout, the CEO of Precision Drilling. He made $75 million — with much of that from stock options cashed in when the company converted to an income trust.

In Corporate America, there are even bigger breadwinners. Richard Fairbank, the CEO of Capital One Financial Group, pulled in $249.3 million US, exclusively by exercising stock options.

The average CEO in the U.S. now makes 430 times what the average worker makes. That's up more than 10-fold since 1980.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas goings-on

Ohayo Gozaimasu (that's Japanese for Good Morning). It took me all day to learn that. I wrote it a zillion times and said it two zillion times. Konnichiwa is 'hello' or 'good afternoon' and that word was easier for me to remember. This is all in preparation for my Tokyo/Bangkok/Singapore trip coming up soooon. Today I will learn a practical expression: "where is the bathroom?".
Doris and I started the week by practicing eating Thai food, at the Thai Coconut in Burlington. The mango salad was really really good.

So many people are lucky enough to have a quilter in their life, and get a quilt for Christmas. This is the last Christmas quilt I need to finish. And it's huge, with tons of stitch in the ditch. I will go back later and use a plum thread on the plum fabric, but you can see the general idea of the quilting design.

When I work late I like to watch a movie - this week it was Mamma Mia. And guess who stars in it??? He's been a heart-throb of mine for too many years to count. But holey off-key Batman. He cannot sing worth a bean.

I finally have the Christmas tree decorated. It is a real tree in a pot. We will plant it in the spring. We tried that last year too and ended up putting $80 on the compost pile. This year we will treat our little baby a bit better (wow - say THAT fast!).
Here is the tree on steroids. If y'all want to know how I took such a fancy pic, I used the night setting and turned the flash off, then (apparently) I jiggled my hand a lot. There is lots of room under that tree for.... envelopes & gift cards!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dinner parties and Lessons learned and Aprons

We had two couples over for dinner on Saturday. The house was all vacuumed. The dusting was finished. The glass tables were polished. Lesson #1 - fluff the couch cushions BEFORE dusting and polishing.

DH and I were busy preparing the meal during the afternoon. Lesson #2 - this was more like a dog fight in the kitchen when I saw him swabbing down the counters and cutting boards with a freshly laundered and bleached white kitchen towel. I do believe he has now learned that there are pretty kitchen towels that ONLY dry dishes, and I DON'T mean the cast iron frying pan.

Lesson #3 - men just cannot help themselves when it comes to needing to win a game at any cost, including CHEATING. In the midst of the Trivial Pursuit game, the girl's game piece with several pies was inadvertently dropped on the floor by one of the guys, and some of the little pies were never found. Two hours later the guys finally won.

Lesson #4 - always ask the husband if he's made regular coffee or decaf. Don't wait until the next morning when both of you spent the night with your eyeballs zipping around your head in a mad frenzy of caffeine. That was ok back when I was 20, but now I truly (!) need all the sleep I can get.

Me and my zippy, bloodshot eyeballs spent Sunday making aprons. The one with the cats is for our vet. The pink & orange one is for me. The black check is a spare.

Log Cabin is one of my favorite quilts. This one is very cheery - I love the red.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Silk Quilts & Osage Oranges

These are slices from Osage Oranges. When I was driving from Diane's to the quilt guild in Goderich, Diane made me pull over at the side of the road and pick up oranges that had fallen from the tree. These were a little on the old side so I'm not sure how they'll look when they dry. That one on the left with the very brown centre worries me - I keep checking that nothing is crawling out of it. yeccchh...

I'm killing an hour before Boston Legal starts. Tonight is the very very final episode. What reason will I have to get up on Mondays after tonight???? Must find a new activity. Maybe I should work on some of those darned UFO's. Ya think?

I have finished two more quilts. Both quilts include silk fabrics, and both used Linda Palaisy hand dyed variegated threads.

This first one was quilted with a pantograph - 'Asian Ginko' and used the blue-ey thread. The pale green border is silk.

The second one needed a little more thought and PAY ATTENTION!!, so I put on some nice sing-along but not dance-along music.

The blocks are silk in this one. They were very simply quilted, with stitch in the ditch (which is not simple at all when using a longarm) and cross hatching. The mauve-ey/red-ey thread went in the blocks on this one.

In the borders and sashing I used black thread and quilted a background fill of greek key-ish motifs interspersed with some little flowers. As I've mentioned before, black thread on black fabric is just a bugger for me.

My darling hubby found this clamp-on light somewhere. It takes a zillion batteries, but when I need extra light there is nothing like it. It has a coily/bendy arm so I can aim the light wherever I need it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wondering what to get me for Christmas?

Dear artsy-fartsy family members, if you are stuck for ideas:
Rural mailboxes are available at the hardware store and are not expensive. Just think how pretty one of these would look if it had a hand painted quilt block, and some numbers that actually matched? The numbers could be hand painted too, and then they wouldn't fall off.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Backyard. And Quilts.

I've had lots of people asking me "How's the backyard coming?". The basement is nice and dry, which was the whole purpose of all this demolition.
We can go out the back door now. Yippee!!! And the fence gates are re-installed. Yippee!!! The patio portion will have to wait until next year - it's getting too cold for DH to be working out there all day. And it's the north side of the house, so it's not even sunny to warm it up a bit. The big gangly looking posts are for the railing. Poor dog will end up running smack into the railing when it does go up - right now she's having a GRAND old time bounding up on the platform.

Here's a shot of the ladies from the Goderich Guild, hard at work on their Christmas postcards. It was kind of funny - at one point they were all concentrating so hard they were stone quiet. I spent a lovely evening with Diane. She's a girl after my own heart - we watched Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. At intermission she had to go out and brush the snow off the satellite dish - got her two minutes of exercise.

It's the Christmas Season here. My plan is to do the 'must have it early enough to get the binding finished and wrap it for Christmas' jobs finished. Then I will go back and do the 'do it whenever...' quilts.

These three are all gifts.


Self explanatory. Martinis are in the pitcher just waiting for me to get started on this one. Oy, yoy, yoy.