Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Kicking 2021 To The Curb

One of the best memories from 2021 - Beach Day in Exeter.  That car and I are approximately the same age.  I think it's a '57, and I'm a '56.

Lovely scrappy one that I quilted in September.

Margaret's 150 Canadian Women Quilt.  Mine is still only half way complete.

Wow, beautiful vintage blocks!

Ooh, so pretty.  I had trouble figuring out the quilting for this one but I love how it turned out.

Ahem.  How I spent December 16th.  Lined up for 4 1/2 hours at Dundurn Castle's parking lot for a booster shot on the Go-Vaxx bus, with DH and a friend.  It was a nice-ish day considering it was mid-December, but there were gale force winds AND periodic bouts of rain.  After we finally (!) got our shots we went to Lemongrass Thai Restaurant for lunch.  That was my last in-restaurant meal for the foreseeable future, I expect.


Finally managing to complete a no-complaint-30-days was definitely the top of the list.  That seems to have changed my brain, temporarily at least.  I still complain but I'm quite aware now that I'm doing it, and usually nip it in the bud.  I definitely recommend that long and occasionally painful process of personal growth.  It seems to me now that complaining is simply reminding yourself about your unhappiness about something-or-other.  There is zero point to that.  If you're unhappy about something, either shit or get off the pot.


I could never remember when I did something.  When I talked to someone.  WHO I talked to about something.  I was listening to a podcast about something-or-other (see what I mean???) and apparently our covid isolation has resulted in our lives being the same, day after day after day.  We have no "markers" to isolate events.  My brain cannot flip through it's files and identify "the night at the pub when I met Chloe" as the same day when I got a haircut, for example.  So back in June I started keeping a tiny daily diary on Google Docs.  There are no deep dark secrets there, but I can tell you when I had lunch with someone.


These are the quilts I donated to the women's shelter this year.  These four were pieced in October at the Tobermory retreat.

These four have been waiting for a new home for a while.

I am guessing that I donated this one too.  It was supposed to be a gift for someone, but when I went to wrap it I couldn't find it anywhere.  All of these quilts were out in my workroom for photos at the same time, so this must have been inadvertently packed into the donation box too.  If not, then God help me, I have lost a quilt!!!

This is how I'll be spending New Years Day.  I saw that quilt pic on the internet somewhere - if I had any idea where I would certainly give the maker credit.  I sat down for an hour and ciphered out the measurements and drafted the instructions.

I'm supposed to have a friend over for the day, but we've changed that plan - she will stay home and sew.  The covid numbers are absolutely on fire here right now and we both prefer to stay healthy if we can.

Oh, what the hell.  I was hoping there'd be no more point to this part of my post, but the Universe seems to have a different idea.  Here are the numbers for today.

World:  Total cases 282,617,000.  Total deaths 5,413,000
USA:  Total cases 53,105,000.  Total deaths 820,458
Canada:  Total cases 2,031,000.  Total deaths 30,251
Ontario:  Total cases 697,000.  Total deaths 10,200

In Ontario our daily case numbers have gone from, well, here...  a picture is worth a thousand words.  The highest number since the pandemic started was on Christmas day at over 10,000.  Today is 8,800.  This might explain my earlier remark that booster day was probably my last in-person restaurant meal for a while.

I cannot end the year with a depressing topic like our covid numbers, so how about a cute cartoon?  Here's hoping 2022 will be an improvement over 2021 and 2020.


Monday, November 8, 2021

The Tobermory Event

 I keep telling myself that I'm going to blog smaller and more often, but that clearly isn't working out so well.  sigh.

Tobermory with the Beach Girls happened from Oct. 17 - 22.  I would happily have stayed another week but responsibilities are a fact of life sometimes.

This is part of the sewing stuff.  Retreats require a lot of packing!  The upstairs fridge is jammed full and the downstairs fridge is holding the overflow.

Getting reacquainted with welcome cocktails

Sunset on the 19th.

Afternoon cocktails on the 20th.  Most of the week was gorgeous weather.

We did accomplish some stitching.

In the weeks leading up to retreat I made pear-infused vodka and the Peartinis were a hit with the girls.  Some years they're not quite as enthusiastic over my cocktails.  Here's the recipe
from the spruce eats
.  The numbers on the right make a pitcher of 5 servings.

This was definitely the laziest and least productive one of the bunch.

When we left on Friday we took a bit of a circuitous route home, going to Lions Head for lunch at The Taste Kitchen.  That was my first indoor-dining experience since the pandemic started.  I figured where would I be LESS likely to catch something?  We had spent the morning figuring out how to get our vaccination certificates on our phones - when you go through that much trouble it is necessary to make it worth your while.  The whitefish and sweet potato fries WERE worth it.

Since returning I have the quilting done on a little xmas wall hanging that I pieced up there.  Currently at the hand-stitching of the binding stage, and then I'll be adding some embellishments.  The star needs some work to make it show up, and the packages need some ribbons & buttons.  

All of the green squares are leftovers from 2013 when we made the bags.  Personally, I think it's a miracle that I could FIND the ziploc bag of squares from eight years ago.  I still have a bunch of pink squares left, so there might be a valentines quilt in my future.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Wide borders, Complaints, Kitchen, Covid

 Wide borders can be a bit challenging to quilt.  Oddly enough, I had TWO quilts that came in with wide borders, and even ODDLY-ER (Yes I know that's not a word.  Who cares?) the same border design worked beautifully on both of them.

Yikes - all paper pieced!

The body of this was all done with s.i.d.  There is no quilting I could ever imagine that would improve on that piecing.

The turquoise thread in the border really adds a gorgeous pop of colour on the black.

Applique, with a bit of additional batting behind the leaves for a trapunto effect.

The leaves were all outlined, with added veining.  Background cross-gridding with a tight fill behind the leaves, then a bowknot between the blocks.

A variegated thread was used throughout.


As I reported in my last blog post, I was working on 30 days of continuous non-complaining from my most recent start date of August 22nd.  Holy mackerel!  I finally made it and pulled the plug on Sept. 23rd!  DH might voice a little skepticism over that but I'm sticking with my story.  My first start date was July 12th, and I had to reset eight times, sometimes two days in a row.  When I was discussing this little project with people, several of them kinda screwed up their noses, tilted their heads, and asked me "like....WHY?".  

Actually, I found it to be a really worthwhile exercise.  I discovered that if you start your day complaining (well - me, anyways) it begins a downward spiral where many parts of your life are crap.  Complaining tended to amplify whatever was irritating me, and I'd feel pretty miserable by the time I went to bed.  NOT complaining really helped with that. 

Try it!  Let me know how it goes.  See if you can manage 30 consecutive days in less than 75 days (or something like that).


OMG, please get me out of the kitchen.  Many many pears were gifted to me.  I've made pear cobbler, pear honey, kale & pear salad, diced and frozen pears for more cobblers, and now I'm getting ready for my retreat with the Beach Girls.  Can you say Peartini?

Apples have been coming at me from TWO neighbours.  I've made apple sauce, apple cake, apple pies, apple cobbler, butternut squash & apple soup, and diced and frozen bags for the winter.  I've also made a few new friends - just call me the Apple-Pied Piper.  Heh heh heh... notice the little Apple Pie pun there?

I've done so many tomatoes that yesterday I finally started putting them in garbage bags.  I quit.  I am NOT doing any more this year.  

The butternut squash are ripening and a few of them have split from the abundance of rain we've gotten the past couple of weeks.  Thankfully, squash will keep for a few months so I can harvest it and ignore it.

You know you've been too generous with people when they stop answering your phone calls.  😆  And don't even get me started on the fruit flies!  Who, by the way, are wine drinkers.


I spend a couple hours every morning pretty much wasting the early part of my day.  I read and post to a quilting forum I belong to, read the CBC news, and then I move on to facebook (which has turned into mostly ads - anyone else notice that?)

One of my favorite parts of the news is reading the comments.  An interesting comment caught my eye this morning, about the number of covid cases in Canada vs. the state of Florida, so I had to do some research.  

Yes, our whole country against one American state, as of October 1st-ish.

'Nuff said.  Get your shots!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Sad Fur-baby News, Complaint Update, etc...

 So yeah, sad news here last week.  Our sweet dog Sadie took her last breath on the same day as Charlie Watts.  I've been comforted by the thought that she went through the pearly gates with someone who loved music, and she can keep him company. 

DH and I are so grateful for the wonderful care she received throughout her 14+ years from the Caledonia Veterinary Clinic.  Oh darn, excuse me... sniff, crying again. Sniff.  OK.  Let's carry on.

As an old dog she was on meds quite a bit.  It got to the point where DH and I were having trouble keeping track of her pills, especially if one of us had to hit the road in the morning, or went to bed early at night.  Whenever she was on a round of antibiotics I had to resort to keeping a separate calendar that we could tick off for every dose.  Here's an example of twice a day dosing for three weeks.  That's a little whiteboard in the kitchen - it's turned out to be the BEST. THING. EVER.

In my last post I mentioned that I'm attempting (hah, pfftt!) to go 30 consecutive days without complaining.  I've had to restart another couple of times since my last blog post, so the most recent start date now sits at August 22nd.  This current 14 day stretch is the longest I've managed in one straight run.  Previously the maximum stretch had been nine days.  It seems that every time I've caught myself slipping up, I've been in conversation with a girlfriend (or several) and the conversation turns to crabbing about something.  Sometimes I start the crab session, sometimes I just join in with whoever's carrying on about whatever.  Very broadly, the complaints have tended to be about husbands (no real surprise there, as anyone who is married will tell you!) or regarding some area of politics.  There's a federal election coming up soon, which is driving a LOT of complaints.  I have gotten to the point where I'm much better at having a discussion instead of ragging on in misery.  Will I get through another 16 days?  I'll keep you posted.

Whoo baby!  All those leaves and the mushroom compost certainly paid off.  We are drowning in potatoes, many of them volunteers that overwintered through that thick blanket.  I've got butternut squash big enough to kill somebody.  The zucchinis are still producing, and the cucumbers are only now deciding to give up the ghost.  I have to start doing something with the tomatoes this weekend.  Some of the slicing tomatoes are the size of my foot, and even the romas are big, fat and round.  

I finally made it up to the Kawarthas to see Margaret.  It had been over two years since we'd seen each other.  We spent some time tooling around the lakes in her boat, ate lots of junk food, spent an afternoon at Kawartha Quilting, and generally caught up.  Her neighbours kindly provided some entertainment and threw a wedding in their backyard.  FYI they still play The Macarena at receptions. 🎵

I'm catching up on as much social life as I can because it'll be another long, lonely fall and winter season I think.  Covid is not going away anytime soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Colour, Christmas, & Complaints. (And Covid, I guess.)

 This is the hard 'C' post, pronounced 'K'.

Colour.  This one is self-explanatory...wowsers.  I love it!!

Christmas.  Actually it's Winter, not Christmas.  But that would ruin the alliteration.  A great strippy quilt.  This was fun to quilt.

Love the crochet doilies!

Complaints.  I'm running a personal challenge - 30 consecutive days with no complaints.  This started on July 12th, and I'm now on my FIFTH start date.  At this rate I will still be trying in 2022.  Interestingly, the first two restarts were because I was trying to one-up somebody; "Hah, you think that's bad...".  Also interesting is that not complaining (on those rare days when I seem able to do that) forces me to find a new way to talk about something.  Instead of expressing a complaint I will talk about an issue with a view to correcting or eliminating the irritant.  Mind you, any discussion around politics really does include complaints.  So how I should handle that is a good question.

I had a few conversations with friends as to when something actually becomes a complaint.  Is it when I think something, or only when I say something?  And is stating a negative-fact (as in "you left a mess on the counter") also a complaint, or can that be reworded in such a way that it becomes a conversation topic rather than a complaint?  Does the tone of voice dictate where that falls?

Most people I've mentioned this challenge to have been pretty intrigued with the notion, as in "why on earth would you do that?".  😆


Ontario - 378 new cases on Saturday.

USA - averaging 100,000 new daily.  In June they were 11,000 per day.  Yikes.  Delta variant.

World - 201.8 million cases, 4.3 million deaths.

Personally, hubby & I have had both shots and I am working my way back to normal.  I've had a few customers who came in the house.  I've had four restaurant patio meals.  I had a friend over for dinner, and we have another couple coming here tonight for dinner.  I've been away with the Beach Girls overnight.  I'm getting a HAIRCUT next week.  And as you will see in the pic below, I'm back to making the girls interesting cocktails.  This time it was Rhubarb Martinis.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

TWO of my own finished and the Garden Terrorist

 I set a few challenges for myself every year, in a feeble attempt to accomplish something.  Otherwise, Facebook, you know?  This year's UFO portion was to finish any three UFOs, and I completed that at the end of May.  I already showed you the Vintage Tulips a couple months ago - that was #1.

#2 completion is the sampler quilt that the Binbrook guild ran as a block of the month from 2017 through 2018.  I managed to finish it in only three years!  Woo hoo!

The objective was to make each block twice, but reverse the colours on the second one.  So, take your lights and swap for darks.  It was a fun exercise and I was very happy with the end result.

Here's a lovely shot of the back.

And a closeup of the quilting in the blocks.

My third finish is the X's and O's that I've been dragging around with me to endless retreats for several years.

The front is quite busy but the plain squares show the quilting motif very nicely.

This is a better photo of the pretty, delicate border design.

I'm more than half way through hand stitching the binding, so I'm calling this one finished.

The remaining items on my Challenge list include several projects that I want to get started on, as well as making sure I get at least five donation quilts ready before the end of the year.  Last year I took quite a stack to Martha House and I'll probably take this year's there too.


I always know that summer has truly arrived when as dusk descends I notice the white noise of frogs and toads singing in the background.  My friend's husband Larry - we call him Mr. Science & Nature - explained to me the difference between frogs and toads.  Frogs are water creatures, whereas toads live on land.  In pre-covid times when I had the luxury of going OUT somewhere in the evening, it was always fun to come home in the dark and notice the little toads hopping out of my way as I'd come up the walkway, from the driveway to the front door.  Then approaching the porch and before I opened the front door, I would check the upper corner where the walls and the roofline meet to see if our resident bat was lurking up there.  (I learned that little habit the HARD way.  Use your imagination!)

My little TERRORIST friend lives on the back patio.  This year I was ready for him so I paid very careful attention when I was mucking about in the flowerbed.  I saw him before he hopped away, and avoided having to explain to DH that "no, it's ok, I'm fine, nothing to see here".

Then not a half hour later, the little bugger.... !!!!  Scared the POOP out of me.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Focus Print Quilts, Medallion Quilt, & Gardening

These are the BEST quickie type of quilt.  Choose some gorgeous fabrics and add a border or two.

They make lovely lap quilts, sofa throws, bed coverlets, or tablecloths.

 I studied this one at great length.  I've never made a medallion quilt even though I've been quilting for 25 years.

It looks pretty straightforward, with large piecing.  I'm definitely giving this a go...

Gardening...I've been eating fresh kale, that lived over the winter.  The crazy thing is, it showed up all by itself last year - I didn't plant it.  Sometimes it pays to be a messy gardener, deciding in November that "to heck with it - it can stay there and die a lonely death under the snow & ice".  I guess it had already gone to seed, and then came back to haunt poor DH. 😆

And I've been picking asparagus for over a week.  Yum!!  Don't laugh...yes it take a few days to collect enough for a proper serving at this time of year.  In June I will probably be begging people to take some.

The problem with leaving blog posts so long in between is that I forget what the heck has been going on. 
  • I took a six week writing class which was really (!) good.  Instructor was Deborah Kimmett.   I've been (trying) to write a bit every day, but you know... facebook.  
  • On nice days I try and get out in the garden because I'm a fair weather gardener.  
  • Hubby had a birthday so I baked a chocolate cake for him.  I got the icing out of the freezer, and checked if he was around to see that the label on it was 2017.  SUCCESS!  I did not poison us!  Ha ha, marital duplicity. LINK to the recipe - Martha Stewart Chocolate Frosting.  This makes enough for TWO double layer cakes, hence a batch that stays in the freezer for, um, a while.  Honestly, I really HAVE to put this in the freezer or I would eat the whole batch.  It's not super sweet, and the dairy makes it sooo creamy - mmm.
  • Speaking of the freezer, we're having frozen, uh, stuff for dinner tonight.  He's getting the frozen leftover spaghetti, and I'm getting the frozen ??? that looks like either chili or stew.  Maybe Chili Chili Bang Bang from the Looneyspoons cookbook?  It appears to be vegetarian, but I'm not quite sure...