Monday, November 29, 2010
My mother was indeed quite a lady. She grew up in a rural area, the oldest of six. After leaving home at 15 to live with her grandparents in order to finish high school, she then continued on to become a nurse. She was never afraid of hard work and continued to nurse for a number of years while raising her children and helping my father in his business pursuits. She eventually did all the "bookwork" and accounting, and was certainly the backbone of the growing family business.
I guess one has to reach a certain age, or level of maturity before one truly appreciates their parents. Looking back now, I realize how very lucky I was to have two such loving parents. They always made sure we had good healthy food and got lots of fresh air, exercise and sleep - something many children today do not experience. Mum made sure that if there was an activity we wanted to participate in, she somehow found the money to make it happen. My brothers did Cubs and Scouts, I did Brownies and Girl Guides. I was so very fortunate to have piano lessons and many other musical activities - various church and school choirs, high school musical productions and so on, and my love of music has never diminished. Thanks Mum. When I left home to attend University in another province, like most 18 year olds I couldn't wait to "get out of Dodge"... thinking I would never return to live in my boring little hometown. But it wasn't long before I realized what a great place it was and how lucky I was to have such loving caring parents.
Mum always stood up for me and made sure I had the same (or equal) opportunities as my older brothers. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and made sure I got a good education so I could support myself. She taught us to work hard, to be thoughtful of and helpful to others and treat everyone fairly. She taught us so much by example, much more than we were even aware of, as children.
I credit my Mother for my love of nature and gardening for she was certainly a nature lover and had a very "green" thumb. She was "green" before her time (lol) as she was always thrifty and never wasteful of anything, and recycling (or re-purposing) was just a natural part of her life. Certainly my love of all things fibre came from her as well, as I grew up watching her knit, sew, do many types of needlework and hooking - none of which interested me much then, but look at me now - following in her footsteps!! My love of travel also began when I traveled with Mum and Dad as a child. Looking back at my first solo trip at age 17 - by Greyhound bus to visit my Mum's only sister in West Virginia, I can hardly believe they let me do that all alone! I had to change buses in every large city down the eastern seaboard, and I made it, but not without some nervous hours at home for my Mum I'm sure, waiting by the phone... When I left for 3.5 months of backpacking around Europe the day after graduating from University, my Mother's sage advice was - "Use your common sense, and be careful. You have a tongue- all you have to do is use it. If you are in trouble - just ask for help." (Of course she was forgetting that I only spoke English and minimal French - no German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch.....) My love of reading also is the result of a mother who taught me to love books. She introduced me to the Library, but we both loved spending time in a bookstore, and she never once said no to the purchase of a worthwhile book.
There have been so many moments during my life when I can hear my Mother's wise words. She was indeed a wonderful person- a bit on the shy side, never one for crowds or big gatherings other than family ones. She was content to spend time by herself with her hobbies . She was always willing to help someone in need and supported many worthwhile causes in the community. She was good to her parents and all her siblings, and helped them all her life in whatever ways she could. She was kind and compassionate, and loved animals and all living things. She was a lifelong learner and always tried to better her skills. She was a great cook and would never turn anyone away from our table, always finding a way to "spin things out" to feed one more.
I miss my Mum every day. I still find myself thinking I'll just call Mum and ask her how to do... whatever. Or I wonder what she would say or advise about a certain predicament. I regret that my own children have few if any memories of her, other than after her stroke. They never knew the wonderful warm loving person she was. She would be so very proud of them both today...
I am lucky to have some great pictures of her in her younger years, and thought you might enjoy seeing them. At the top is a baby photo of her. The next one was taken while she was in (nursing) training, I'm guessing in the late 30's. The last two were taken just after my parents were married, I think (1942). She was getting ready for a big dance and I'm not sure who took this photo while she was doing her nails. The last shot is a closeup taken on the same night, and as you can see it has been tinted.
Yes indeed she was a wonderful lady. If I can be half the woman and Mother she was, I'll be happy.
I love you Mum, and miss you every day.
A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. ~Agatha Christie
Yes I'm still busy stitching!! Here's my latest "finish" - she's known as Rosebud Angel. She's a Mill Hill Charmed Angel, and comes in kit form, similar to the Charmed Santa Faces I've shown you. Like the Santas she is stitched on 14 count perforated paper and all the supplies come in the kit- pattern, paper, floss, beads, needles, charm and ribbon. This series came out in 2000 so may be hard to find now in your LNS. I've had this kit for "a while" and finally got around to it this year. She measures 6"w x 2.5"h . and her kit number is MHCA 20, in case you might want to order her. I have checked and this series of 6 angels are still shown here on the Wichelt website so I'm assuming they can still be ordered. I collect angels so am happy to add this little sweetheart to my tree this year.
Isn't she cute? Next Monday I'll show you her "sister", Holly Angel, who's a redhead rather than a blonde.
An angel in the house they say, will guard your family night and day.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Here is the little tip I mentioned in an earlier post re. the binding, when first attaching it to your quilt by machine. If you are doing a large piece, or anything that needs a long length of binding, you might try this: If you have an extension table for your machine, or if your sewing table has a "leg" or something at the front like you see here- roll the binding up around your hand, and place the "leg" or post in the center of the circle. The binding will unroll as you stitch along, and it will not get twisted, caught on something, fall to the floor, or any of the other scenarios that usually happen when you have a great long length of binding. Works like a charm. I cannot take credit for this idea- I read it somewhere..and can't remember where. So to whoever thought of this, a Big Thank You!!
We had a beautiful snowfall yesterday. It was so "picture perfect" when I went to bed last night after midnight- all was still and the trees were so pretty. I got out this morning before the wind came up and snapped a few quick photos in my backyard. Hope you enjoy them.
"Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again." ~ Bill Morgan Jr.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thought you might enjoy seeing what a HUGE help Ollie was to me when I was cutting out the pieces. He really loved the nice crinkly rattley tissue paper and he was convinced I was doing the entire job just to entertain him!!! He enjoyed trying to pull the entire length of fabric to the floor and when that didn't work he decided he should get right up where the action was. He did a great job of holding things in place till I got it all pinned down! lol Perhaps I should think about renting him out as an Apprentice for a Seamstress??
One bright idea I had while doing the waist and the drawstring was this: you know how hard it can be to thread a drawstring or elastic through a casing when you come to the seam allowances... if they have been pressed open, sometimes it is difficult to get by that spot. Instead of pressing them open, just in the waist area I pressed them to one side- all going in the same direction around the waist- lets' say clockwise. So when I threaded the drawstring through, there were no "fetch-ups" at the seams. Worked like a charm.
In another day or two I'll show you the quick Christmas Banner I made for her (now that she has received it) and share a hint to make applying the binding a little easier.
A dog is a dog , but a cat is a purrrrson.
And now, without further ado: the WINNERS were drawn by my Hubby last night, and they are both Bloggers from Ontario!!
The first name drawn was Karen from For The Love of Needle and Thread. Congrats Karen!! You get first choice of the Santas. Let me know which one you would like.
The second name drawn was Dolores of True Blue Canadian. Dolores, once Karen has let me know which one she would like, you can choose from the remaining two Santas. Or, if you really really wanted the one Karen chose, I'll make another one for you. You might have to wait a week or two for it though... :)
I'll get these Santas in the mail within the next few days. This was so much fun, I think I'll do another Giveaway in February for my second Blogiversary!! Sound like a good idea?
"His eyes - how they twinkled, his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow...."
~ Clement Clarke Moore
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I seem to be a bit behind the times in that I have not foraged far into this new world of "pre-cuts". I tend to like to choose my own fabrics, and Lord knows, I've chosen quite a few over the years- I could probably open up my own Fabric Shop (that is IF I wanted to part with them, which I don't. Yet.) I did buy my first Bali Pop this past summer- that's a pack of co-ordinated 2.5" strips of Bali fabrics from Hoffman. I love love love the colors and can't wait to use it. Just one small problem- I'm still waiting for the inspiration to hit. What to do with it? I'm still looking for a design I really like....
But I digress. This post was to talk about my latest quick project. I picked up a Charm pack recently - my first! How exciting! I chose North Woods Botanical (by Holly Taylor for Moda). I was in a new shop and I have to admit- I just couldn't help myself - I simply got carried away with the excitement, frenzy, call it whatever you want. (C'mon, admit it- You know EXACTLY what I mean!!) ANYWAY- when I got home, I thought now what am I going to do with this????
I rarely buy Modas. I rarely buy Christmas fabric. WHAT was I thinking? I do like the more subdued reds and greens and I did love the prints of pine sprigs, pine cones, holly leaves, etc.
Well, after some serious web and blog surfing I did come across something that fit my bill- quick, easy, not too large - the Disappearing Nine Patch. Yes! That's what I'll make - 4 large blocks will give me 16 blocks to make into a table center. Perfect.
So - here it is: I used 36 of the 42 squares in the Charm Pack and made 4 nine patches. Since Charm Packs are 5" squares, these are 14" (unfinished) nine patches. Here you see several- I chose 5 darks and 4 lights for each block- darks in center and corners.
As I laid this one out, I thought - can't do that- 2 greens on top, 2 reds on bottom...but then I realized it won't matter. You'll see why next...
After pressing the seams, cut each nine patch in half, vertically and horizontally, giving you four smaller blocks. So I will end up with 16 blocks.
Here is one possible layout.
Here is another.
I'm going to play around on my design wall to see what other layouts I can come up with. I'll share the finished design with you in a few days.....
This is a very simple quilt design - easy to construct, great for beginners. Great for scraps, also great for Charm Packs. It may also work for an I Spy quilt. Doing the Math is very simple- take the size of your original fabric squares, multiply by 3 (3 across in the 9 patch), divide by 2 (when you cut in half) and subtract 1 (for seam allowances). The resulting number will be the finished size of your block.
So if you are using a Charm Pack: 5" x 3 = 15/2 = 7.5 -1= 6.5"
If you had 6" squares: 6" x 3 = 18/2 = 9 -1 = 8"
If you use 7" squares: 7" x 3 = 21/2 = 10.5 -1 = 9.5"
I saw this Disappearing Ninepatch on Judy Laquidara's blog. If you're not familiar with Judy, she is very prolific and makes many beautiful scrap quilts. Definitely worth a frequent look!!
Don't forget today is the last day to enter my Giveaway. I'll be drawing the Winners tonight at 9 pm Atlantic Time, and announcing them tomorrow morning... See you then!! :)
And a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends/ followers/readers!!
Is a nine patch part of a twelve step program?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Here he is - the third and final Arctic Circle Santa- this happy gent is from Lapland and is accompanied by his reindeer friend. He measures 3.75" w by 4.75" h. This kit series came out in 2009. In case you might want to order them or look for them at your LNS (local needlework shop), Greenland Santa is #MH20-9301, Lapland Santa is #MH20-9302 and Nunavut Santa is #MH20-9303. I love these little kits and there are always ample supplies - almost enough left to do a second one. All floss numbers and bead numbers are supplied so you could easily buy more to make additional pieces.
I'm now working on another little Mill Hill stitched and beaded piece- I'll show it to you next Monday. Here's a tiny peek at left- she's a cutie!!
My next post will be #300!! In celebration, I'm having a Giveaway- have you entered yet? The draw will be held on Thursday Nov. 25 at 9pm local time (Atlantic Standard Time). Don't wait till the last minute. Click here to see the details. Good Luck!
A fellow blogger, Marie over at SRE Deluxe, is also having a Giveaway for her 300th post. Check her out here and enter her draw too - it runs till Dec. 1st.
Christmas is a time of joy,
A time for love and cheer,
A time for making memories,
To last throughout the year.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I've had another busy weekend. Yesterday our Guild held a workday- members could spend the day sewing on whatever projects they wanted; I worked on several things- neither of which I can show yet (shhh- it's a secret). One is finished and ready to mail off to Laura, (I'll share pics once it is received), the other is still a WIP. You can go here to see a few pics from our workday. I'm also still stitching every evening when I finally sit down to relax. Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see the third and final Arctic Santa. Once he is revealed, I'll show you a hint of what my next stitching project is...
This afternoon, when I had planned to be in my studio, I ended up taking a little trip upriver to Northampton to an Open House at The Jolly Farmer with my brother Leigh and SIL. Having never been before, I really didn't know what to expect- I thought it was just a large greenhouse or two. Wow- was I surprised! It is one huge operation with much more than just greenhouses. They also sell fresh produce (in season), meat, honey, frozen goodies like meat and fruit pies, quiche and frozen cookie dough logs, granola, cookies and fudge. They offer agricultural and turf products like soils, growing mixes and compost tea, hardwood products like cutting boards and knife blocks... suffice it to say I was amazed! Of course the greenhouses (which cover acres!!) are full of poinsettias and cyclamen this time of year. I could not resist snapping a few photos to share with you. It was just so wonderful to look at fresh blooms after all the dreary November weather we have had... Enjoy!! If you live in my area and have never been, it is well worth the 1 hour drive. Their next Open House is in May- and you KNOW I'll be there!!
See you tomorrow- Lapland Santa is waiting to meet you!
Happiness is a journey, not a destination
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thought you might like my easy peasy recipe for Peanut Brittle (done in the microwave):
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup salted peanuts (I often used salted mixed nuts)
1 tsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
In a 2 qt. glass measure, combine sugar and corn syrup, stir. Cook at high 4 minutes. Stir, add nuts, stir well. Cook at high an additional 3.5 minutes. add butter and vanilla, stir well. Cook at high 1.5 minutes. Add baking soda, stir gently until light and foamy. Immediately pour mixture onto buttered cookie sheet. Spread out as thinly as you can. Let cool, then break into pieces. Yield- about 1.5 pounds. Caution - mixture gets extremely HOT, be very careful not to burn yourself, and do not make this when young children are around... and DON'T lick the spoon!!! :)
Thanks to Joyce H. for this recipe (from our Guild Cookbook)
Don't forget to check out my Giveaway here. It is open till next Thursday Nov. 25
He ain't heavy, he's my brother...my BIG brother...
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I must say though, in all this time, I haven't gathered many followers.. of course I haven't really worked hard at that either.... Nor do I get many comments; it seems to be the same few who comment all the time.. I like to hear from you, readers - no one wants to think they are talking to themselves..haha!
SO- here's how the giveaway is going to work: 1. You don't have to be a blogger to enter- it is open to all readers. But if you are not a blogger, you will have to include your email address with your comment so I can reach you if you are a lucky winner!
2. You must leave a comment on this post to say Hello. I will choose a winner next Thursday, Nov. 25 - one month before Christmas, by pulling a name "from the hat". And - if you're not a Blogger, I'd love you to tell me where you live!
3. If you are already a Follower of my Blog, or if you join as a new Follower, I will add your name two extra times.
4. If you have a blog and mention my giveaway there (you could even link to my post!) I'll add your name two more times. Of course, you'll have to tell me that you have done this...
And what might you win, you ask? You could win one of the stitched beaded Santa ornaments shown on this post - Saint Nick (top), San Nicolo (left) or Santa Claus (below) - your choice. If I get more than 100 comments, or I reach 50
followers, I'll draw two winners. If I get both - over 100 comments AND 50 followers, I'll draw three winners! I will add a little something else to the winnings as well, depending on if you are a quilter, crazy quilter, a stitcher or whatever your passion is....
So, dear readers - I'm waiting!! I want to hear from YOU!
Edit: Mon. Nov.22 - I just realized that some viewers may not know how to comment, or become a Follower. Anyone can leave a comment - all you do is click on the word "Comments" below- a white box will open up - type your comment in the box, then below it click on "Comment as". If you do not have a Blog or Google account, select Anonymous in the drop down menu. (just remember to add your name and email addy in your comment so I'll know who you are in case you are the lucky winner!!) Then simply hit the "Post Comment" button. Simple as that!
To become a Follower, you must have a Google account. Scroll way down my sidebar to find the box of Followers, then simply click on the word Follow and follow the prompts.
Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Today I have the second in the series of three to show you - Nunavut Santa. I love his friend the polar bear! And his parka reminds me of my Hudson Bay parka - it is sooo warm on a bone chilling winter's day... Nunavut Santa is 4.75"h by 3.75"w. I have enjoyed working on these Santas- they've gotten me out of my November funk, and beginning to feel that Christmas spirit. Come back next Monday to meet Lapland Santa.
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say "I used everything You gave me." ~ Erma Bombeck
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I did sit down late last night and finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It was a quick and easy read, and a heartwarming story of father and son relationships, as well as young love. I didn't know much about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, nor about the frosty relations between Chinese and Japanese at this time. Guess I didn't stop to think of the fear and prejudice there would be towards the Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Anyway, a great read, and a slightly different "slant" on life during the early 40's.
I should finish the last outline stitching and beading on my Arctic Santas tonight so may have one ready to show you tomorrow... Y'all come back !!
I will soon be hitting the 300th post mark, and since I've never done a Giveaway, I think it's time!! So stay tuned ... you will have to comment to be entered in the draw, and Followers will get their name in the hat an extra time. Stay tuned for more details soon...
"A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise that you can hardly stand it. The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad." ~John Andrew Holmes
Friday, November 12, 2010
I have my two kiddos home this weekend, so that's a little sunshine in my life. I've spent lots of time in the kitchen the last few days. Made a big pan of lasagna and a pan of brownies to "welcome" them home, yesterday a big batch of Chili to freeze for Laura, and today a big batch of Spaghetti sauce for Mark. I'll do a few Banana Breads tomorrow and maybe something else, so they'll have some homemade goodies to take back, to keep them going the next four weeks and through exams, until they are home for Christmas Break...
I'm working away on the beading on two cross-stitched Arctic Santas- will be showing you one next week for sure. Beading is slow work, especially when Ollie is around, constantly wanting to be on my knee.. he has upset more than one tray of tiny beads.... It's a good thing you're cute Ollie...
I started a new book this evening. I haven't done any reading for a while and I had reserved this book at the Library. They called on Wednesday to say it was in, and of course once I picked it up, I couldn't resist. It is soooo good, and a quick read too... Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It's the story of conflict between father and son, the sweet innocence of a first love, the cruelty of racism and the evacuation of Japanese Americans in the Seattle area to Internment camps during World War II.
A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer's wave goodbye.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." ~Joseph Campbell
Monday, November 8, 2010
I seem to have been in a bit of a funk lately... maybe it's the wet weather. I'll use that as my excuse. I have nothing to show you for my time in the last week, but I will have photos soon- I've been working on some Christmas cross-stitch. If you followed me last Christmas, I shared with you my Charmed beaded Santas. I have been working on two Arctic Santas for this year and will soon be ready to share them with you. The stitching is complete, but I still have beading to do... Stay tuned...
Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while. ~Kin Hubbard
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I figured it was the perfect week to tackle my studio and do a good cleaning, tidying, reorganizing. And I'm using the FARTS system.... What?? You've never heard of the FARTS system? It's a very simple five steps that works well for tidying and organizing. I think it was Libby Lehman who taught me about this...
1. File - deal with the paper. Set up a good filing system and use it! Get all those papers filed so you can find them when you need them: notes from classes taken, newsletters, Guild Lists (membership, Library holdings, etc.), patterns or articles you've torn from magazines, etc. etc.
2. Act - do it! Do all those little jobs you've put aside- find that book your friend wanted to borrow. Put those pattern pieces back in the envelope. Tidy up those ribbons that are overflowing their basket. Renew that subscription. Make a list of all the little jobs you've been meaning to take care of - I love crossing things off a list- it gives me great satisfaction and a
sense of accomplishment!
3. Recycle - I try to recycle and find new uses for things whenever I can. I reuse containers to hold small things (especially Crazy Quilting supplies like threads, beads, etc.), recycle file folders by re-labelling and/or colorcoding, etc. Empty thread spools go to the local kindergarten classes. I have a big bag full to deliver tomorrow....
4. Toss - If you can't use it, lose it. If you can't bear to throw it out, pass it on to someone else. Bring old magazines to Guild for someone else to enjoy. Donate fabric you no longer care for to charity projects at your Guild or otherwise. It's amazing how much better you feel when things are cleaned out and re-organized.
5. Shred - Shred anything of importance...
Simple as that - FARTS. File Act Recycle Toss Shred. That's what I'm doing. Mostly filing and tossing.... It feels good....
"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned". ~Peter Marshall