Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays

This is one of the charms I received in the swap - I love how old fashioned it looks - its really tiny too so I am pleased how the detail came out with my new camera. This charm was made by Bren at the

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Two days ago Pat and I saw a bright red cardinal and his taupe wife at the end of the garden. We were very impressed by how red the cardinal was. Today the cardinals were just outside our kitchen door - picking up bits of ice to get the water from them. They were puffed up and beautiful ... but no picture ... sigh

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Charms from Saucy Sprinkles Vintage Pink and Aqua and Christmas Swap arrived this morning. WOW. Each charm is so beautiful.

I sound like a broken record but my camera is out of commission again ... Santa do you hear ... I need a new camera ... EDIT - Pictures Added - New Camera is Great

Here are the little lovelies: Lisa: vintage snowman charm - crystal and silver beads

Karol at silver snowflake and pink and cream irridescent snowflake

Chandra at pink and aqua Santa book

Karen at silver christmas tree with aqua star and tiny stars

Deanna: vintage buttons with ribbons and snowflake

Sasha from silver snowflakes and the sound of music album with Julie Andrews on the cover - with glitter

Bren at the a vintage silver button, a bell with vintage santa and a little white dove

Jill from a silver angel with pink and aqua beads and bows

anonymous: white 3d glittery snowflake
anonymous: sliver ball ornament with aqua bow
Me: silver sleigh bell and vintage reindeer

Thanks everyone!!

I want to put all the charms on the charm bracelet Sasha enclosed right away and wear it tonight. Can you tell I am excited. Truly the charms are so pretty and Christmasy - silver pink and aqua was an inspired theme.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day - A little bit of sunshine put to good use

It rains alot here from November to March - pretty much nearly every day it seems. So its pretty grey and soggy. Its really beautiful weather in the summer - not too hot and usually sunny all day. But right now its wet Wet WET!

One little bit of sunshine has been poking around the living room and has really burst on the scene today. We bought a meyer lemon tree (bush) in a pot that was in flower. It lived on our little balcony this summer and the flowers turned to tiny green lemons (baby finger nail size) but now I have 10 good sized lemons - bright yellow and two green ones working on turning yellow. The fruit is very pretty - smooth skinned and perfectly lemon shaped.

What do you do when life gives you lemons - you make lemonade!! Here is my recipe made up on the spot:


1/2 lemon
3 tsps sugar
1/4 cup water
6 small ice cubes
extra water


Squeeze half a lemon so that all the juice and as much pulp as possible is captured in an 8 oz glass. Add squeezed out skins and ice cubes to fill glass. In a small dish add 3 scant teaspoons of sugar to 1/4 cup of water along with a bit of lemon zest - a few grates is all and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir hot mixture to ensure sugar is dissolved. Pour hot mixture over ice cubes, add water to fill glass, stir to mix ingredients and ENJOY!!

Pat and Ian were both surprised how good this was and how much better than our usual frozen canned lemonade. It felt like we were drinking stored summer sunshine in the lemonade.

This brightened up my day - hope it brightens yours.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flossie's Scrap Fabric Swap

Flossie wants to make a scrap string quilt using all the colours of the rainbow. It uses a lot of different fabric so she organized a swap with 8 others and by sharing we get a greater variety of fabrics.

Here are my scraps to swap. Most have been tossed into a bag and have been there for awhile - I thought at the time "Ohh this is too big to throw out- may come in handy someday" - well today is the day!

I was really surprised to see how much "scrap" fabric I had squished into a plastic grocery bag - there are enough to make well over 100 6" square blocks!!!

I hope to use the scraps I get for the string blocks in my circle quilt for round 4 of the ORBCQA.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Millefiore Quilt

This is the fabric I am using as the inspiration for the circle quilt of the ORBCQA. It is a Kaffe Fassett fabric called Millefiore and is in the pastel colourway. It has a 1000 colours in it or at least 11 - pastels with attitude!!!.

The colours include:a mauve, lavender, periwinkle blue, soft spring green, lemony yellow, a salmon tone, an aqua, pure pink,a purple grey, a very light grey and tiny tiny sparks of crimson. It reminds me of coloured swirled glass.

I am participating in a fabric swap hoping to get some of these colours to make the string blocks which use a lot of different fabrics.

This photo is from Hancocks Paducah online fabric store as I still have not got my camera cord fixed.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shh - Its Halloween

This has to be the quietest Halloween ever. Only six or seven groups of children have come to the door. There is not even a dent in the bowl of goodies and it is almost 8 pm.

Pat and I carved pumpkins - he did the gory clean out the guts part, provided the ideas for the pumpkins and I did as he commanded. They look pretty good. Pat is out with Ian trick or treating with Softie - who was dressed as Vampire dog but the cape kept falling off.

I dressed up to hand out the treats - a ghoul in purple fancy dress

Friday, October 30, 2009

Most Original...that's my kid

Patrick won the "Most Original" costume prize in his class today. It makes me laugh he and Matthew come up with the strangest ideas for Halloween costumes.

One year Matthew he wanted to be a skunk but the tail had to huge and held erect and sway. Another year he gave me directions on making his costume that included a fur covered head and a plastic tentacle like arm. I don't know if it actually had a name but it was just what he wanted. This year Matthew is organizing a Halloween party in Edinbourgh and he is going as Zombie Jesus.

Patrick's idea this year was "Bedtime". He wore his black soccer tights and undershirt and black gloves and then inserted himself between 2 pillows in a pillow case so his body was covered by the pillow. He wore slippers and a night cap and carried a teddy bear with a small pillow around his neck that said "Now I lay me down to sleep."

Picture to go here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zig Zag and Wonky Quilt Along Status

I have finished the zig zag quilt top and a little border to go around it. It went together well and I love the dash of red and the flannel backing. It will be a very cozy quilt for Pat. I wanted to do a puffy quilt as per Pat's request and planned to make the quilt as a duvet cover but did not like how floppy the top was so I tried to quilt the top to the comforter but my machine could not handle that. So I have sandwiched the quilt with two thin layers of batting. Now to quilt it. I am still mulling over what kind of stitching pattern to do - straight line I think - but following along the zigs and zags. It looks great on Pat's new bed and with the IKEA fabric of his window valance.

Pat had a great deal of input into this quilt - both solicited and non-solicited!!! He wanted a cuddly quilt that was red ad white and black. I pulled fabrics from my stash and he discarded the "flowery" ones and kept telling me to pick the simpler patterns. We went shopping and he picked the red flannel which I think makes the quilt pop. I was going to do the zigs with a variety of fabrics but he wanted one fabric per row. Now that it is done I think all his choices were the right ones and it made the quilt his. I also love that he was so sure of his wishes - no going back - no second guessing - just clear direction - do this - do that. He also kept me going on the quilt with his enthusiasm and reminders to work away.

I hope to get the quilting done this weekend and the binding and washing next week.

The zig zag quilt is the Old Red Barn Company Quilt Along Round 2, Amy of Park City Girl led this round and provide an excellent tutorial to follow along. These virtual quilt alongs are great because I get my sewing done in "off peak" moments when real time classes are not run, but still can call upon or participate with other quilters from around the world.

Photos to be added here.

Round 3 is the wonky block quilt along led by Quilt Dad. He showed us how to make 3 different kinds of wonky blocks. The process is quite simple but I found this round challenging for several reasons. I wanted to finish the zig zag quilt first so my head would be free but it took me longer than I planned so I began to think about this quilt too much. I am using black fabrics for my son Devon and they are hard to see to sew together. And the big kickers - you need to be spontaneous to pick fabrics at random to make it up as you go along - that is very hard for me. I am a planner and I plan so I had to get over this. And lastly you have to cut off part of fabric that you have sewn - arrggh this felt like wastage of lovely fabric. I cut up some strips and hated how they looked - too random.

Two days ago I sat down and just willed my way through making blocks and made 5 and a half. I used wider strips of fabric and only 3 rounds instead of 4 or 5 but I really like how they are coming along and made 4 blocks today. I think I need to make 42 blocks for a queen size quilt top so I am nearly one quarter along. So many of the quilt along participants have finished and round 4 is about to start so I want to keep making blocks this week.

More photos to be added here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pay It Forward

Rachel at Crafty Sauce was looking for some people to play pay it forward and so I joined in. She is still looking for another player so check out her site(

If you would like to receive a handmade gift from me, and are willing to make and send a handmade gift along to three of your blog readers, please let me know in my comments. Once you accept, you will receive something from me within 365 days. In turn, you will have 365 days to fulfill your end of the bargain.

I would love to make a quilted something for 3 of you!!!

So all I need is three of you to tell me that you want in. Let me know!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin & Spice Fabric Giveawy

Pumpkin Patch Primitive Fabrics is giving away a Bundle of Red Rooster's Pumpkins & Spice Fabrics by Whimsicals. The bundle includes every fabric in the line with the exception of the panel. That means the prize is 27 Fat quarters!!!

If you want to enter, you will need to have a blog AND post a link to the giveaway and let them know you learned about it here. To count your entry you must have a link to Pumpkin Patches blog... not a blogroll, it must be an actual post about the giveaway.

So go on over to Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe's blog to enter at:

If the entries reach 250, a second bundle goes in the pot and there will be TWO winners, one bundle for each!
If there are 350 or more entries a $100 Gift certificate to the Pumpkin Patch will be added as a third prize.

The winner will be picked on Halloween - timely eh? Have fun with this

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

13 Bootiful Treasures

Saucy's Halloween Charm swap arrived today it included a bracelet and charms provided by the following swappers: - pumpkin, pie and chocolate - yum - spiders, black cat, silver cat, flame, lime and orange balls - fun - Halloween pin, mini chocolate bars, skeleton head, cupcake - eclectic - vintage halloween card - beautiful - neon spider and trick or treat basket with goodies - cool

Sue - orange glass pumpkin with amber beads - happy

Tiffany - candy corn on black disk - elegant

Sharon - pumpkin, bats on lime and witches hat - contemporary

Linda - silver jointed skeleton - frightfully scary

Maureen - silver cat and amber bead - detailed

Doreen - black and silver bat - classic

Sandra - Silver and black Boo blocks - jingly

Melinda - skeleton on scrabble block with silver leaf - unusual

Extra - Wicked in silver frame, google ring and bubble yum - surprize

Loved each and every one - ladies thank you so much!!

Photo's to follow

Friday, September 11, 2009

Material Obsession

On our little holiday I purchased "Material Obsession" by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. This morning after Pat left for school I wandered over with Softie to Little Nest a neighbourhood cafe to have breakfast, enjoy the sun and read this book about modern quilts with traditional roots.

Breakfast included poached eggs with shaved parmesan, baguette, green beans with lemon anchovy vinaigrette and a bread pudding muffin with chocolate, pistachio and fresh cherry. Heaven - need to do a post on Little Nest another day.

Having spent a fair bit of time quilting and thinking about quilting it was delightful to read this inspiring book. The authors give really good advice about getting into quilt making and their patterns are wonderful.

What touched me the most was the underlying encouragement to do what you felt like doing and that "quilting does not have to be about boundaries" and to have a great time while doing it.

Kaffe Fassett's forward to the book recognizes that quilting can be a large canvass for expressing the emotions of our lives and he goes on to say "in order for many of us to do this on a level that communicates with others, we need a great deal of encouragement and confidence building. So true.

I have been so fortunate to have stumbled on Joy's Hope blog that led me to Dana's Old Red Barn Quilt Along, then creating the strawberry quilt as part Dana's Rail Fence , then working on Amy Parker's Zig Zag quilt and now getting ready, gearing up to do John Cary's Wonky Blocks.

The Old Red Barn Quilt Along is the epitome of the best of the quilting community that provides that needed encouragement and confidence building. I have "met" lovely people around the world who share an interest in quilting through this group. The personalities are so different but the support and encouragement is universal.

I will figure out how to do the links to Joy's Hope and the ORBQA and post them here so you can see what I mean.

It is amazing.

Salt Spring Island - A Great Break

Saturday, August 22, 2009


This is an amazing rose. It has been treated to have rainbow coloured petals. On some leve it is so artificial but Pat was fascinated by it so we bought one. It HAS been fascinating to see it open and have the new colours emerge. Its growing on me.

BUT how did the grower create this effect???

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jennifer Paganelli - Generous Gifter and Fabric Queen

Jennifer Paganelli left a comment on my blog which surprised and pleased me no end and then - then - sent me 4 fat quarters of her beautiful fabric!! It arrived today and Pat volunteered to open the package for me - much tearing and tossing of paper ensured and then Pat said, Oh this is nice, you will like it and gave me the fabric. Yes, I like it. Yes, I LOVE it!! Now what to make with it - my head is spinning with ideas.

Jennifer designs Sis Boom for Free Spirit. Her designs are feminine and fresh and lend themselves for use in clothes and home decor as well as quilts. The fabric has a lovely hand - it feels soft and silky but is strong. This is fabric to stroke and dream over and will be a delight to sew.

Thank you so much Jennifer.

Picture to follow when I get batteries for camera...sorry

Happy Birthday Matthew

Matthew was born early in the morning on August 13 1984. Happy 25th birthday!!

With Matthew I started on the wonderful journey, voyage, safari experience of motherhood. He was such a beautiful baby who grew into an inquisitive creative child, a moody teenager and then blossomed into a very interesting man with eclectic interests.

It truly feels like just the other day that I marveled at his perfect amazing smallness and vulnerability and the infusion of love as I held him for the first time. Now I look up to his 6 foot 2 or is it 3 height and marvel at his capability, strength and intelligence and the love deepens.

Matthew is quick to remind me that I made all my mothering mistakes with him as he was my first born and he is right I did learn on the job. He is, however, his own person and for that I am so grateful and proud of him as he finds his way in the world.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Time has passed and I want to capture some of the good things that have happened. A bit stream of consciousness.

Visit with Sasha - of Saucy Sprinkles was in town last week from Saskatoon and we got together for a coffee that turned into a drink and a heartfelt chat about our children, education, blogs, women, authority, funny things and challenges we have faced. The time flew by and it was a delight to meet in person this really special kind woman - who brought cupcakes!!

Old Red Barn Company Quilt Along - gee this has meant a lot to me. So many women have participated in this quilt along and supported each other. We have different learning styles, beliefs, colour preferences, etc., but share so much. I am blown away by how wonderful the quilts are.

I am a bit stuck on the actual quilting of my quilt but will have some time next week when Pat is at daycamp to sew.

Zig Zag Quilt Along - This is another project I am looking forward to and am pleased with my design for it, Patrick helped with the fabric selection and boy was he right!! It will be a quilt for him.

Garden - The tomatoes are growing and so are the herbs and we picked weeds out of the patio. Ive spent a bit of time on the hammock and its been a delight to sway back and forth. Our neighbour has raspberries and some of the plants have migrated to our side of the fence and we have been very appreciative of the sun warmed berries off the plant and into our mouths. I planted a blueberry bush and it has not done so well - maybe next year. The blueberries have been plentiful in the store and I have made some clafouti and muffins which were big hits.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First Quilt and what I have learned...

Camille at Simplify is hosting a parade of quilts where participants blog about their first quilt and their most recent quilt and what they have learned.

Its going way back but my first quilt attempt was from a pattern in Woman's Day or Family Circle magazine in maybe 1980. I thought it was so cool - cylinders of fabric stuffed to make rows and rows of rows. Very modern. I bought fabric and stuffing and began sewing without following the directions - just sort of winging it. It was a total disaster. I did make another attempt and pieced a throw size top but could not figure out how to get the stuffed look and it sat un-quilted forever. Sorry no photos of those sorry experiences.

In 1984 I made a quilt for my first born - Matthew - I designed a swan applique framed by pale blue eyelet quilt top and made it into a duvet cover for his crib. There are lots of wonky bits because I made it up but oh how I love this quilt. It just brings back how little my son was and how much I loved being a mother and especially being his mother. I will take a picture of it and post it tomorrow. Gee I am all choked up just thinking about it.

In 2000 I made a real quilt for my last born - Patrick - I took a quilting class and was pleased to finish it for his birth. It has a teddy bear for each of his brothers and sisters and lots of hearts incorporated into it. I put a lot of effort and time into it which contributed to a little sibling rivalry. Matthew (aged nearly 16 then) expressed concern that I had not made him a quilt and when I brought out the swan quilt to show him he sort of mumbled: "Well what have you done for me lately???"

I asked if he wanted me to make him a quilt and he said sure but doubted I would deliver. I could not let the challenge go by and so took another class to make a sampler quilt in secret for him. I learned so much from Helen and am forever grateful for her guidance. The blocks were pieced by hand over a year and I was sooo, sooo slow, finally Helen said machine quilt them together. I could not get the blocks to be the same size and she said - we are not going for perfection - we are going for delight. Then I prevailed with quilting the top with a regular machine - stitch in the ditch - it was torture - lots of bunching and ripping out and doing over. I finished the quilt for Matt's 18th birthday and he was totally, totally surprised, blown away and happy.

And so I have progressed and persevered and learned a lot, including:

fabric is seductive, and addictive
creating ideas for new projects is enervating and engaging
mistakes, flaws and revising are necessary to appreciate your mettle as a person
finishing quilts is a struggle with so many new temptations to begin new projects
incredible satisfaction and peace accompanies a completed quilt and you see it wasn't that hard afterall
the quilting community is incredibly generous and supportive

My newest finished quilt will be my strawberry quilt from Dana's Old Red Barn Co. Quiltalong - only 5 weeks to make or Cait's - 3 years in the making. Which will it be???

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day, eh!

This is a yummy layered jello dessert . This first attempt had me searching for a conversion between grams and ounces. I would make more layers now that I have got the hang of it - very easy actually.

Have yourself a great Canada Day! We are off to see the new playground at Pat's school.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This Father's Day we went to a u-pick berry farm.

We picked very ripe and very small berries bursting with flavour.

I made rhubarb and strawberry jan and strawberry jam - neither of which set - berries were probably too ripe.

Also made strawberry Ice cream and crepes with strawberries, cream cheese and maple syrup and strawberry smoothies.

We had strawberries in our cereal and strawberries with milk and strawberries straight.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Monkey Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Pat's Soccer Team (Portugal)is having the last games of the playoffs tomorrow and I said I would bring cupcakes. Here they are in the team colours - Yeah Team!!

These are also posted for Saucy's Virtual Cupcake Saturday. Saucy is very creative and is having a cupcake baking class that I would love to attend (too far - boohoo)but she has opened it up so we can link our blogs and see what those that can't make it to the class have done.

The cupcakes taste delicious if you can get past the intense look of the icing - its what my little guy wanted and he thinks they are perfect. He was really intrigued by the gel food colours so I have hidden them away. He wanted to use them in his bath but we compromised and he had dark green milk instead.

Monkey Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour muffin tin or use silicone or paper cup liners.

In a large bowl combine and mix the following ingredients:

1 cup of flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon baking powder

In a small bowl combine and mix the following ingredients very well:

1 large ripe mashed banana
2 tablespoons plain or vanilla yoghurt
One beaten egg
¼ cup of milk
¾ teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add half of the banana mixture and 5 tablespoons of butter to the flour mixture. Mix until the flour mixture is moistened and gradually mix in the remaining banana mixture. You may need to add in a bit more milk but the dough is a bit stiff.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be golden brown. Cool and frost cupcakes with buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

Mix 2 cups of icing sugar, ¼ cup of butter, ½ teaspoon vanilla and dashes of cream until frosting is spreadable.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I really need to do something about this

Stay Tuned - Deconstruction underway - A new improved version coming soon. (I hope)

Devon has been using our guest room/craft room and in a cathartic response to his move to Toronto I have emptied my fabric cabinet with a view to re-organize the room. Its been two weeks and it actually looks worse in person but I am keeping the door closed - out of sight out of mind. I know - I really need to do something about this and I will, soon, I promise.

Thanks Devon

Devon came out at Christmas and has stayed with us to help out with Patrick while Ian and I worked. He has been a delight to have around because he is so easy going and has such a calming influence. He is also hilarious - he should write comedy because he can come out with a quip so fast and so unexpected you fall down laughing from the humour. Really.

Patrick has gained a spot in the school daycare and so Devon is returning to Toronto to seek his fortune or at least a minimum wage job. Definitely will be playing paintball and may breakdown and get a new vest. It will be black and have lots of pockets. He will not wear a coat unless its a serious blizzard but wears his vest year round.

Devon has taken such good care of Patrick and is stricter with him then we are and way more fun. Its amazing to hear him help Pat with homework and to see him teach Patrick how to behave and act responsibly - he was listening and taking to heart the things I said after all. He is a wonderful son and has grown up into a fine young man. He will be a great dad.

I miss him but am glad he is making his own way on his terms.


I am not a big fan of red for me - its intense and bold not really me at all. I like blue and green - calm and peaceful. But I love red in its place - strawberries, our Canadian Flag, candy canes and on Patrick - its his favourite colour.

Patrick embodies intense and bold - Red is his colour.

Pat was delighted to be part of the Red Team - to wear red and to decorate and ride his red bike at his school's sport day.

See what I mean.

ORBQ Quilt Top and Backing

Here are my quilt top and backing for the quilt I am working on as part of Old Red Barn Quilt Along. Liking the quilt and the process very much - have "met" some really interesting people around the world who share an interest in quilting. I find it amazing that with the same pattern so much diversity is being created. Even when some have used the same fabric the quilts are different and all are beautiful. What a lesson for us all - we can be the same and different and beautiful in our own unique way.

I'm also struck by how much we worry and wonder about our choices but we keep working on fueled by our desire to create and by the incredible fellowship offered in support of each other.

With a cupboard full of fabric (understatement) I am so thankful for the opportunity to use some of it and to see one little dream of mine along its way to be realized.

Now on to the actual quilting...wish me luck

And how do you mitre corners anyway?