Thursday, December 31, 2020

Comfort and Blessing Quilt and 2020 Year End Posting

 This was the last custom quilt of the year.  I love working on sampler quilts.  This is Comfort and Blessing by Piecing The Past Quilts.

Lots of s.i.d. with some common elements throughout the blocks.

It's a little easier to see the quilting on the back.

Here's a shot of the borders.

This is such a pretty pic of a sunset on December 10th.

Hmm.  What else?... Christmas was quiet with just DH, Sadie and me.  I had to cook a turkey, which I'd almost forgotten how to do.  Normally 1-800-LUKE takes pity on us and invites us for dinner but this year we all stayed safe in our cocoons.  Although we did have a nice driveway visit with Luke and his wife a few days beforehand.  Oh, I miss hugging people. 😢  New Years Eve tonight will be the same thing - two people and one furbaby.  To celebrate kicking 2020 to the curb we're eating junk - frozen appetizers (along with some veggies - I do have some standards).

New Years Day is normally spent in person with a friend who comes over and sews with me, and then she stays for supper.  This year of course, no go.  We'll stay in our own messy sewing rooms and keep in touch with messenger video chats.  The two of us are always part of a bunch of quilters from Ontario having our New Years Day Sewing Marathons, so lots of emails and photos will be flying back and forth.  I am putting DH in charge of supper.  It will be pork tenderloin in the crockpot, with some kind of veggies and some kind of potatoes - I'm leaving that all up to him.


WORLDWIDE:  83 million cases, 1.8 million deaths, 444,400 new cases yesterday

USA:   19.8 million cases, 343,000 deaths, 229,300 new yesterday

CANADA: 579,000 cases, 15,600 deaths, 7,476 new yesterday

ONTARIO: 182,000 cases, 4,500 deaths, 3,328 new yesterday **record numbers, AGAIN!

HAMILTON:  6,057 cases, 168 deaths, 156 new yesterday

The provincial lockdown didn't happen on Dec. 24th as anticipated.  The Province delayed it until Dec. 26th.  Stupid, stupid, stupid, not that anybody asked my opinion.  The Premier decided to let people "shop" and get together for dinner.  I think he also wanted to let religious people have their church services, since they are a big part of his electoral base, but he didn't say that - that's just my thoughts.

Besides that, the latest asinine behaviour was the Minister of Finance for Ontario.  

Keep in mind that the government of Canada AND Ontario have instructed all of us to stay home and travel ONLY FOR ESSENTIAL REASONS.  So, what does idiot Mr. Phillips do?  He goes on a two week vacation to St. Barts.  AND posts fake videos on his twitter feed to make it look like he's enjoying Christmas at home.  Dickhead.

His boss, Doug Ford, the Premier of the Province, tried to tell us that he didn't know his minister was down there. Huh. But as soon as he found out he told him to come home.  Huh.  However, the next day, Ford has to backtrack and admit that well, yes, he DID know,  but not until after Phillips had already arrived there in St. Barts.  So he was going to give Phillips "what for" and wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing "any more".  So...clearly not firing the idiot.  

THEN... we find out that this same idiot had gone to Switzerland for a vacation in August.  WTF?

OMG.  I need the head exploding emoji here. 

To recap:

  • the Minister of Finance took a trip out of the country but pretended he was still in Canada, all while the REST of us have been told to stay home and stick to ONLY OUR HOUSEHOLDS.
  • his boss, the Premier, pretends he didn't know.
  • then his boss, the Premier, confesses that he lied - he DID know.  (my word not his - he would not be honest enough to say that he lied to us)

The final note to this story is that Mr. Phillips has resigned his position as the Minister of Finance.  Probably as soon as he got off the plane in Toronto.  I figure Doug Ford threw him under the bus and made him resign.  Doug has already had so much bad press over the Covid  response that he really cannot afford any more shit going down.

Dear Universe, 
Could you please have a cannabis cookie?  
We really need 2021 to be a bit more reasonable. 
Thanks, xxoo, Helen

Monday, December 21, 2020

Using Beautiful Focus Prints, and a Covid Update

Remember back in the old days before covid when you could have company?  And occasionally someone would have "one too many" and need a nap?  These are perfect.  Pick a great print and add some borders.     

These quilts make a nice throw for the couch.

They would also make a nice quick gift.

If you can't get in to your longarm quilter in time you can easily do straight line stitching on these with your domestic sewing machine.

I've finished up my 2020 customer quilts and am taking a couple weeks off.  Yesterday the fur-baby got a bath, so she's nice and clean for Christmas.  And I started the Christmas baking.  I also have a couple little things I want to sew for small gifts.  I'll take care of those projects in between listening for the dinging of the oven timer.

I DID have some big excitement, which let me tell you - has been pretty scarce these last many many many months.  I have a friend who is distantly acquainted with a painter I have loved for a long time.  She discovered this painter had donated a piece of art to a fundraising silent auction.  Super!!  I checked out the bids - there were a couple on there already, so I threw my hat in the ring too.  Well, of course I got bidded up.  So I stealthily waited until the last 30 seconds and placed one more bid and yee-hah!  Success!  Sorry for all the exclamation marks, but I was VERY EXCITED!

Here she is, Catching Fish by Sandee Ewasiuk.  


Worldwide:  76,912,000.  Wow.  Almost 77 million cases, 1.7 million deaths, 700,000 daily new cases.  
USA: 17.8 million cases, 317,700 deaths, 189,000 new yesterday.  
Canada:  511,000 cases, 14,200 deaths, 6,000 new yesterday.
Ontario:  155,900 cases, 4,150 deaths, 2,300 new yesterday.
Hamilton:  4,885 cases, 136 deaths, 98 new yesterday.

  • The U.K. has locked down the south of England due to a variant of the virus, which apparently spreads much faster.  I thought it was spreading plenty fast as it was, but I guess I was wrong.  Several countries, including Canada, have stopped incoming flights from there until something (?) happens with this issue.
  • Hamilton, which is the city next door to my small town, is in lockdown effective today.  Numbers have been escalating and the hospitals are on alert to cancel surgeries, along with whatever other measures they take when they're worried about incoming patients and lack of patient beds and staffing levels.
  • The whole province of Ontario will be going into lockdown, apparently, effective December 24th.  The official announcement will be made later today, so at the moment I don't know if the timing is 24th morning, or 24th midnight.  
  • Vaccinations have started in much of the world but it's going to take a long time for that to get us out of the mess we're in.  I understand that politicians want to save the economy by keeping everything open, but money doesn't help you when you're dead.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Stack & Whack, putting the garden to bed, and a Galette w/recipe

Here are two same-but-different quilts.  The blocks are the same, but the quilts have different settings.
This one has no sashing, and plain alternate blocks.  A dark and a print border.

This has sashing with cornerstones and an outer print border.

OMG that is a beautiful print.
I chose an Asian-style pantograph to pair with the Japanese fabric.


DH dug all the remaining potatoes.  We had a bumper crop this year, in spite of the dry summer.  Watering every week produced some great tomatoes and the wonderful pile of 'taters.  

IF YOU LIKE CABBAGE:  I put in six cabbage plants back in May (?).  As I harvested them I left the plants in the ground and let them continue growing.  I kept harvesting from those six plants until last week when DH ripped them out so he could rototill.  Through the summer these were small enough to manage - perfect for soup or a quick coleslaw.  


Every couple of years we add something to the garden to keep a nice soil tilth and lots of nutrients.  DH went to the local mushroom farm and got a trailer load of mushroom compost.  He also had a HUGE quantity of leaves.  I was downstairs in my sweatshop quilt studio, minding my own business, when he came in and asked "if I wanted to help with the leaves?".  Um, no?  Ha ha, that didn't fly!

After the leaves were down it was time to top them up with compost.  I am a very smart woman who has managed to never learn how to drive the tractor. 😁

This will have all winter to break down so we can feed ourselves again next year.

My to-do list today has pie-making hi-lited.

On one of the pandemic-stock-up shopping trips, a few bags of walnuts came home from Costco.  Walnuts only keep so long before they start to go rancid, so I put two bags in the freezer, but I'm still trying to use them a bit more often.  I found the web site and marked a few recipes.

As I showed you last week I have that volunteer kale plant I've been working with, and I had some butternut squash already roasted, sitting in the fridge.  I also had two single crust pastry doughs in the freezer, left over from when I made the peach pies this summer.  I managed to whip this up for supper in practically no time!  Since I didn't have gruyere cheese I substituted with cream cheese and it was delicious.  I ate the last leftover piece this morning for breakfast with a runny egg on top.  Yum!

On a side note, cooking shows are often screening on our tv.  I mean, what else is there to do these days?  Anyhow... we were watching America's Test Kitchen (?) and they were making a galette
Hah!  I pointed out to DH how lucky he is that he gets fed this kind of stuff all the time.


Worldwide:  total 54 million, deaths 1.4 million, new 628,136
USA:  total 10,977,635.  Deaths 245,460, new cases 159,021
Canada:  total 293,183.  Deaths 10,977, new cases 4,613
Ontario: total 95,964.  Deaths 3,387, new cases 1,248

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Catching Up, again

 I seem to have put my blog posting on the same schedule as my house cleaning...pretty darned infrequently! My new system for cleaning is to keep an eye on a couple of the pictures hanging on the wall - if I notice gooey, stringy cobwebs hanging off them I make myself vacuum some time in the following week.  

I'm just going to give you some pics of a few quilts that I've completed for customers over the last couple of months, ok?  OK.

This quilt came with a special request to add a couple of hearts in the quilting.

This was so stinkin' cute.

This is a special quilt for some Florida people.

I love these Quick Curve Ruler quilts!

Another quilt made from embroidered blocks.  This is #3 for this gal.

Scrappy - my all-time favorite quilts.

Like many people these days, I've had it up to the wazoo with politicians.  I was SO ticked off with one local provincial representative that I actually wrote a letter to the editor.  They edited out some of it, but I think they should have kept the comment that Oosterhoff is part of the governing provincial party that has mandated the regulations currently in place.  WTF???

I have a new t-shirt to get me through the rest of the year.  This arrived in time for me to cry in my wine over the cancellation of the annual Tobermory retreat with the Beach Girls.  This cancellation might explain some of my fit over Oosterhoff.  He gets to play with his friends, but I don't???  WTF???

Then I soothed the savage beast with copy-cat Starbucks Pumpkin Scones.

This was my most interesting volunteer in the garden this summer.  It's a kale plant in the same spot where I had one two years ago.  It's been feeding us for weeks (a fact that DH is not particularly impressed with, seeing as it is a green leafy vegetable).  These days if he makes any kind of negative remark over supper all he gets from me is an eye roll and "suck it up, buttercup".  Yeah.  Not winning any BEST WIFE, EVER awards.  Oh, covid... how many marriages are facing some less-than-stellar-days thanks to you?

On a personal quilting note, I stitched up and quilted a whack of Christmas panels.  Since this pic was taken I have cut them all apart and trimmed to size. These will be donated whenever I get all that binding finished.

The current GOOD news is that Biden/Harris won the US election.  I cannot wait to see Trump get his arse booted out of the White House.


Worldwide: 49.9 million cases and 1.2 million deaths.  Daily increase in cases 540,000.

USA:  9.9 million cases and 238,000 deaths.  The US hit a new daily high of over 130,000 cases yesterday.  Sad.

Canada:  261,400 cases and 10,493 deaths.  New cases yesterday 4,246.

Ontario:  84,153 cases and 3,233 deaths.  We hit a new daily high of 1,328 new cases yesterday.  Sad.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

2 Quilts (one complex & one simple), What's Cookin'?, and Covid numbers


Here's the complex quilt, with a medallion setting and a bunch of paper pieced sharks teeth.

And curved piecing.  Don't forget the curved piecing.

This quilt took me back in time.  When I was a kid, Mom had made me a skirt that I loved - dark grey with box pleats.  The inset in the box pleats was pink with a tiny black print.  I felt so sassy when I wore that...every step showed off the pretty pink.  To this day that is still one of my favorite colour combinations. 

Lots of s.i.d. and straight line quilting on this one.

Here's the simple quilt.  Well, not simple exactly - it's all on point, which makes the outer edges really stretchy when it's time to add the borders.  But simple in the sense that it's a one-block quilt, and the blocks are only 2 pieces.

This is from a Fons & Porter magazine, and the maker requested quilting similar to what was in the pics.  I love her colour choices, and she did a great job with the layout.


There have been lots of PIES coming out of the oven lately, both savory and sweet.
  1.  tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, cooked sausage, green peppers, tomatoes, onions
  2.  pesto, mozzarella, shredded cooked chicken, tomatoes, onions
  3.  tomato sauce, mozzarella, diced ham, pineapple, onion
  4.  peach (plus another one in the freezer!😁)

And I've been doing lots of sweating over a hot stove.  Peach marmalade, blueberry marmalade, peach-rosemary jam, mango chutney.  I will save DH's reputation and not tell you the story of how I came to be in possession of enough mangoes to necessitate the making of chutney.  You can use your imagination for that.   Not shown are the 21 quarts of diced tomatoes which I finished on Friday.  By February you can expect to see my arse another size larger.


Worldwide: 25 million cases and 843,000 deaths.

USA:  5.97 million cases and 183,000 deaths

Canada:  128,000 cases and 9,113 deaths.

Ontario:  42,000 cases and 2,800 deaths.


I had my Red Hat girls over last week for a brown-bag-lunch-at-a-distance on the back patio.  Our patio isn't fancy, but it is nice and big.  We hadn't seen each other in MONTHS so it was really good to have a chance to catch up in person.  A few of the gals couldn't make it, but that's par for the course.  Since we're all members of the Caledonia Grand River Quilters' Guild we did a bit of guild catch-up too.  Our guild donated a quilt to the Fair Board to raffle as a fundraiser (see the Guild Feb. 9th post), so many of us bought raffle and/or 50/50 tickets.

I was supposed to leave for two weeks in Italy on Friday.  Yeah, no.  I have actually received a refund for what I'd paid to date, which is good.  I have not yet received anything regarding my seat upgrade for the flights...still waiting on that. ✈

I have another HAIR appointment next week. 👩 Yaay.  This stuff is way too long, and way too hot.  It's going to get a very generous trim.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Let's wrap up June (since it's already August!) Log Cabin & A Unicorn

Log Cabin - I love the colours in this.  The quiltmaker wanted it quilted "like in the magazine".

That involved feathered swirls in the blocks, from the center out to the corners, and then a simple meander in the rest of it.
No s.i.d. kept the cost down a bit.

Unicorn - this is all paper pieced.  Whoo baby!  

Thankfully the quiltmaker sent me a pic of how she wanted it quilted.  Otherwise I'd probably still be staring at it wondering what the heck to do.
I had to get a little bit of technical help from a longarm buddy who has done this style of work.  The background rays were done with the I.Q., and that was a bit of a challenge too, but in a good way.  I like learning new things.

On the personal front, the garden is coming along nicely.  The zucchini is a bust this year.  In an attempt to thwart the zucchini bugs I planted it in large pots on the patio. Two of the three plants died from wilt.  The third one is hanging in there, so far.  We shall see.  Thankfully a friend has an abundant crop and she's been willing to share.  The bumper crops this year will probably be potatoes and tomatoes.

Pizza and bread made from a big-batch artisanal dough recipe has made a frequent appearance on the dinner table.  In fact, it's pizza night tonight, in celebration of some very expensive mushrooms I picked up at the market.

Since the end of June:

  • I had a real haircut from a real hairdresser.  Sooo nice.
  • I've had several backyard dinner-at-a-distance with friends and relatives.  The hardest thing is definitely coping with the fact that I cannot hug anyone.
  • I've had two massages.  My neck & shoulder have decided they want to compete with my hip to see which body part can cause me more pain.  Aargh.
  • I had an honest-to-goodness restaurant meal, on a restaurant patio.  I was very trepidatious but it was long enough ago that I obviously did not catch anything.  Why does Blogger not like the word trepidatious?  Anyone???
  • I had a bone density test, then a telephone appointment to review the results (which are good).
  • I had an eye exam that had been postponed several times from last fall.
  • I was back at the dentist, just for my semi-annual cleaning.  
  • I actually received a refund for my trip to Italy that had been scheduled for August 28th.  That shocked the hell out of me, in a very pleasant way.

I pulled these numbers from the news this morning:
Global:  19.6 million cases, 270,000 daily new
USA:  5 million, 54,000 new daily
Canada 119,500, 220 new daily
Ontario:  40,000, new <100 daily (70 yesterday)

I have to remind myself not to get too cocky over the Canadian numbers vs. the USA.  We are opening up and I KNOW our numbers will be going up too.  Dear God, I hope not to that extent.  I like to think that our politicians have our best interests at heart and will handle things accordingly.  I do, however, have great sympathy for my friends in the US.  I can't see myself ever crossing the border again.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Lone Star Beauty and Covid Update #582. OK, not really...

This beauty had been in-progress by the maker for quite a long time. The Lone Star block is perfect.  She pieced it using the pre-printed fusible interfacing product, which makes for a very exact block.  It gets a little bulky in some areas, but that's a small price to pay for great accuracy. 

 The diamond wedges were all quilted with c.c. (continuous curve), and the outer edge of the star, along with all borders, were stitched in the ditch.  I created some ghost blocks in the white background to break that space up into more manageable-sized areas.

There's a nice repetition of the diamonds and squares in the background quilting.  And I love the contrast between the curvy and straight motifs.

This is definitely my favorite shot of the back. 💕

Covid Update To June 27th
May 23- broke a crown on a back molar
May 30- emergency dental assessment.  Dental offices are still closed but will hopefully open next week.
June 2- I had my dental appt for crown repair.  How often do you hear people say they are glad to go to the dentist?  Ontario's State of Emergency is being extended to June 30th.  Bars and restaurants are staying closed. Vet clinics and pet groomers are open.  Sadly, beauty parlours are still closed so hair cutting at home is still a thing. In Haldimand-Norfolk 164 migrant workers are now testing positive, and one has died in Essex county.  The farm corporation is seeking asparagus pickers - bring a group of 5, pay will be $25/hr per person, 7 am - 4 pm.
June 10- In the past week - short term rentals are now allowed in Ontario, so cottages are good to go. Ontario is mostly moving to stage 2, allowing hairdressers to reopen and allowing groups of up to 10 people.  Now we can have small weddings and small funerals.  However that does NOT include Toronto region, Hamilton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex or Haldimand-Norfolk.  The mayors of both Haldimand and Norfolk protested by getting their hair cut outside where the media could get lots of photos. I cut my hair again - this is Edward Scissorhands episode 4.  The Canada-US border will continue to stay closed past the June 21 end date, but the official end date has not been announced.  The Canadian gov't WILL allow immediate family to reunite on the condition the travelers are healthy AND self quarantine for 14 days.
June 12- Ontario will start allowing visits at Long Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Residential Care Homes, etc. although there is a long list of conditions that must be met first.  The 30 day limit on prescription meds is ending, and the TTC will require all passengers to mask up.  People can start a social "bubble" of up to 10 friends/family but they can't overlap with other "bubbles".  Grocery stores are ending the pandemic pay bump of $2/hr.  What? We don't need these people anymore? They are no longer critical? Oh, don't me started.
...I'm getting tired of keeping track.
June 17- my poor tooth ended up with a root canal which has left a lovely bruise on my jaw.  Looks like DH slugged me, lol.
June 25- we bottled a batch of wine which should keep me quiet for a few weeks.  Since we were out in the plague ridden world already we took the plunge and got a take-out pizza.  This was our second "restaurant food" since the pandemic started.
June 26- EXCITEMENT!!! I had dinner with a friend!  I packed up my supper, a bottle of wine, dishes, and a lovely gift from the Universe ...well, actually from the tee-total neighbours.  They'd had a celebratory breakfast and gave me the leftover (almost-full) bottle.  After eating our respective dinners-at-a-distance on my friend's deck we enjoyed the champagne with strawberries & whipped cream for dessert.
June 27 - holy sh*t. The US is reporting over 45,000 NEW DAILY CASES of covid. Keep our border the hell shut.

So, about those "Bonus Wages"...
Last month I got into a bit of a disagreement with a couple of people on facebook over the Ontario minimum wage.  Now the grocery stores are eliminating the 'bonus wages' they've been giving to employees for the past few months, and I've got my knickers in a twist again.  The grocery stores have been racking up large increases in their profits because so many people are uncharacteristically feeding themselves at home.  The executives at the TOP of those food chains (no pun intended) are, and/or will, no doubt be getting large bonuses to reflect their (ahem) "superlative performance" during the crisis.  What the hell?  Those low level employees are still putting themselves on the front line every. single. day.  And the people behind the counter at Tim Hortons?  Same thing.  Every. Single. Day.  It was suggested that entry level jobs are not meant to pay a living wage.  Yeah, sorry, I don't get that.  In my opinion that means it's a VOLUNTEER position.  But that's not why people go to work every day...making someone else wealthy while I work cheap?  Student wages is a different thing.  They're part time by necessity (ie school) and are generally supporting cell phone bills, video games, and date nights with their favorite snuggle person.  So sure, they don't need a living wage - they're just learning how to show up on time and do what they're told.  But adults who go to work should be making enough money to pay their rent, for God's sake.  How rich is rich enough?  Why is it always people WITH money who want to stop other people from HAVING money?

On a more pleasant note, I made Strawberry Orange Banana jam last night.  Pandemic Preserving, ha ha ha.  Here is a link to the recipe.  It's identical to the recipe from the Bernardin Home Canning cookbook I have, so yes, it's safe.