Monday, June 15, 2015

We're All In This Together

Hi!  I am Sandra and welcome to my corner of Quilting Blogland.

Me with Brandy, our dear friend John's Pibble (75-pound lap dog) Feb. 2015
I am taking part in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Hop which is hosted this year by four amazing bloggers:
Stephanie of Late Night Quilter (my hive leader, woot! woot!)

Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs (currently testing two patterns for her, awww yeah!)
Terri of Childlike Fascination
Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl
I am truly in awe, not to mention so very grateful for the extra time these gals are devoting to helping us improve our blogs.

In 2012 my husband and I made a rather bold decision:  we quit our jobs, he a few months shy, me a few years shy of retirement age.  On top of that, we left Alberta, where we had spent the past 23 years raising our two daughters, and moved to southwestern Ontario, a place we had lived for 5 years in the 1980s.  We had set the wheels in motion a few years prior to the actual move, but it was quite the be-still-my-beating-heart, outside of the box kind of thing to do.  Prior to, during, and after, and even still today, nearly 3 years later, I had and have many deep thoughts, aha moments, profound events occur, thought-provoking incidents, all of which led, and still lead, to much pondering about life in general. I also had time to pursue more fully my passions, sewing, yoga and reading.  I wanted to keep in touch with my family and friends back in Alberta, and I wanted to document not only my quilting projects, but also to share with them my journey in this new and exciting phase of my life.  Thus, "Musings of a Menopausal Melon - mmm quilts" came into being.

Menopause really is a profound time of change in a woman's life, and although I question on a daily basis just where my brain cells have gone when it comes to mundane tasks like opening up a recipe on the computer (3 tries later, after getting sucked into "just checking email, just looking up this Ontario tree, just seeing if I could fix the damn Pinterest button"--which is ugly I know--I finally did get the recipe and the cake made and it was actually delicious--more on the trials of baking with a menopausal absent melon in another post...), where was I? Oh yeah, I find I really think more deeply about the big stuff, the important stuff.  Important stuff...like let's get on with the post!  I hope you are starting to see the blend of humour with profanity. Wait!  Not profanity! (another menopausal issue, can't think of the appropriate word when I want it)  "blend of humour with profundity."  That sounds archaic, but I checked and it's a word, as is profoundness.  I think you get it.

I've quilted for 20 years.  It always interested me, but I thought it too fiddly and time-consuming when I first had a go, armed with scissors, pencil, and corrugated cardboard templates, to make a Grandmother's Fan block into a cushion.  Then when I won blocks in a BOM draw at the LQS, urged to enter and "just make one block, Mum, it's only $1" by my eldest daughter, age 9 at the time, I signed up for a class at said LQS, and, well, garment-making took a backseat to quilt-making!
Fleurs, a challenge from last year:  guild executive-directed, sew your own rounds on an orphan block (love this, still need to quilt it)
My nana, my mum's mum, was a seamstress and a knitter, so I guess I inherited her love of textiles and all things sewing-related, as no one else in my family sews.  I've mostly made traditional pieced quilts, and very early on began quilting them on my 1979 Elna Air Electronic.  I was addicted to HGTV's "Simply Quilts" with Alex Anderson, videotaping episodes, taking notes, drawing diagrams in a scribbler I still have.  There is where I learned so much about the craft.  More knowledge was gained when I found a guild and became a member.  How wonderful to gather with like-minded people! ....

Which is exactly how I've come to view the online blogging community.  When I moved here to Kingsville, it was really hard to find out information about local guilds, and when I did find a guild, Erie Shores Quilt Guild, very difficult to "break into" that guild.

Seaside Rose, one of my all-time favourite quilts, Lake Erie in the background
The online friendships I made fed my creative soul more than I ever imagined; I was wildly inspired by the online quilting activities, the tutorials, the classes (Craftsy is just the best!), the stores, the unabashed sharing that goes on between us whether it be of sales, tips, new techniques, epic fails, frustrations, finishes...and ...... modern quilting. Oh. Holy. Wow.
Summer Breeze, one of my first modern quilts
How absolutely wonderful to see young women embracing a craft that is often viewed as being only for blue-haired, overweight, gabardine-wearing grandmas!  How invigorating to see bright new fabrics and colours, and so much room (now known as negative space) to FMQ!! Since buying both of Kathy Sandbach's books (after I saw her on "Simply Quilts") and taking two classes at a sewing machine store, one on stitching with decorative threads, the other on McTavishing (by a guy who had bought Karen's old machine), I was in love with FMQ.  So now, to see the explosion of all the FMQ designs was music to my ears.
Yoga mat bag designed by moi
I am so happy I took the plunge and started this blog.  It has enriched my life more than I could ever have envisioned.  Truly.

So, to wrap this up, I have a couple of tips for you:
First, a blogging tip from me is to answer your comments by email (unless you are having a giveaway and have like lots!) and then visit the commenter!  We learned last week that answering them directly on your blog does not automatically send an email to the person who wrote the comment.  Emailing and visiting the commenter has led me to making some invaluable friendships with other bloggers, friendships I treasure, talented women with whom I frequently chat.  I love sewing "with" them, thinking (knowing!) they are at their machines right at this very moment, creating beauty, all across the continent, and around the planet.  :-)

But I interrupt my tips with a question for you:  how do you balance your time on the computer with your time on your sewing machine?  Any tips would be much appreciated, as this is something I am struggling with this year in particular!  I keep joking that I need a secretary...

Second, a quilting tip is one I learned on "Simply Quilts", and it is a timesaver when trimming up HSTs!
Layer 2 HST squares right sides together, atop each other, wiggling the diagonal seam together with your fingers so they abut
Lay your ruler down (I love my 8"square from That Patchwork Place) as shown, so the diagonal line is right on top of the seam line. I'm trimming these to 3 1/2"
Trim


Ta da!  TWO HSTs perfectly trimmed.

And finally!  Are you still with me?!  Here is some quick trivia about me:
1.  Dream Vacation Spot:  a tropical small island, set up for one couple only
2.  Favourite Book:  SO many!!  Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese, The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine, pretty much all of Charles de Lint's books, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley...okay, I'll stop, but there are more
3.  Favourite Movie:  "The Princess Bride" with "The Commitments" and "Chocolat" coming close behind
4.  Favourite TV Show:  Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Once Upon a Time, Outlander
5.  Random (fun) fact:  Other than I have a difficult time making decisions (and picking one favourite!), hmmm, I learned to do a wheel and a headstand in my 40s and as of last year, age, egad, 54, can do splits with either leg in front.  This is thanks to yoga.

I hope you might poke around a bit, stay a while, grab a java or a cuppa, and maybe pop back in on a regular basis!  :-)
QC inspector and sewing coach Bella makes frequent appearances on the blog
 As does Rocco, my sweetheart Pitbull.  Naala, our wise Rottweiler, makes occasional entrances too!























I hope you also check out my hive mates' posts for today on this first week of the New Bloggers' Hop:
Johanna at Sewing Time With Brownie
Jinger at Trials of a Newbie Quilter
Kelly at Quilting it Out
Tessa at Half Square Quilts

56 comments:

  1. I have too Lqaugh at your selection ofTV shows! Ilovethe same ones and I have them on disc in. My sewing room so I can watch them (really just listen) while I quilt!

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  2. Sorry about my typing as it really is 5 am here and I flew back from a three hour time difference so my brain is fuzzy!

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  3. I loved this post and getting to know you a little better.

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  4. I certainly have experienced the lack of word recall. Looking forward to following you on Bloglovin.

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    1. Hey Amy - I can't find you! You're a no-reply blogger. I hope you see this; thanks for the comment and for following me. If you email me I can send you some sites where you can fix this!

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  5. I feel like I just got to know you a little bit more Sandra! Great pic of you and poochy! Thanks for the trimming of HST's-I have not heard that one before.

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  6. That's a great tip trimming two at a time! I've been using my Bloc-Loc to trim HSTs. I'll have to try this. Simply Quilts was one of the shows I recorded too, I learned so much from it. I have been struggling to balance computer and sewing time. I only sew when the kids are in school so I really try to limit my computer time during the day.

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  7. I unplug at the weekends and sew on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Clean the house and hang out with family the rest of the time. I try and keep up with blog stuff during the week, I sew with friends on Thursdays and usually try and catch up with IG by Friday! Hard to balance really as you could spend hours visiting everyone!

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  8. Thanks for the peek inside your world! And I'm tickled to note that we share a lot of the same favorites/favourites. 8)

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  9. wow! our FMQ skills are awesome! Thanks for sharing your tips. :)

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  10. It sounds like your early retirement plan has worked out really well for you and your husband. Being only in my 30s, I have to say that my husband and I discuss weekly how to get out of the rat race earlier and actually live lift. I left my full time job over a year ago (my husband is an amazing and supportive man), and I would love to figure out how he can reduce his stress level, too. OK, enough about me. I am so glad you decided to start your blog, too, and thanks for sharing your journey with us. :)

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  11. OMG, that is an awesome HST trimming tip!! Thanks, definitely going to give this a try! Balance between life, sewing, computer time. . . I have none ;)

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  12. I love your Summer Breeze Quilt. The first couple of seasons of Downton Abbey I was all in for but I started to lose interest and stopped watching. Maybe I will give it a try again. I'm going to check out The Mists of Avalon it looks interesting!

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  13. Great post Sandra. It is always great to learn more about you. Thanks for the tips!

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  14. Your fur family is beautiful :) I can't wait to see more of your Free Motion Quilting, looks great!

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  15. My husband moved almost 8 years ago to a rural area away from family, enjoying empty nest, but had to get use to small town..no quilt guild. Thus, the bloggind community has come my virtual quilting guild too! LOVE IT!!! How do I balance time sewing computer??? I get up early before school/work and blog early in the morning. I then touchbase with bloggers after school/work as my winddown time. I only blog....so my virtual life is inclusive to that forum....so I geuss you can say I keep things simple. I quilting is my hobby...thus just so very much appreciate the wonderful blogging friends I have made here...you being one of the newest!! Welcome and thanks for sharing your post. (PS...I went through surgical menopause at 29...so am pretty excited to be missing out on that transition physically....mentally...well, I still get pretty absent minded...I'm a total list maker!! LOL!)

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  16. Even though we have been friends for quite awhile now Sandra, I still learn more about you in every post and that's what makes MMM so fun! Well that and your great quilting projects.
    Wow on the yoga positions! And profanity, profundity - bah - tomatoes, tomahtoes. LOL
    Love that tip you shared on trimming HSTs two at a time! As far as time management goes, I have decided to try an experiment and only blog hop & email Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Which is why I am here on Monday commenting on your blog, LOL. Seriously though, I do want to give that a try.

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  17. Your blog is still fairly new to me, so I enjoyed getting to know a bit about you. I have trouble with too much computer time as well. I read blogs but I haven't joined all the other social media things as I think it would only mean more computer time. That said, my sewing machine is calling!
    By the way, I love your Summer Breeze quilt!

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  18. Oh, nice post about you! I'm so glad to see all your pictures, and trivia that tells me who you are. Now I can see why you quilt the way you do. Glad to count you among my wonderful online friends!

    Julie @ Pink Doxies

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  19. I so enjoyed reading this post, Sandra! I love your quilting work and your great friendliness, too! Thanks for the tips as well. I definitely need to work on how I trim up those HSTs and it is good to have an idea for a new way to do it.

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  20. Sometimes I feel as though I'm the only person in the world (well, not quite, because I have one friend who loves it) who watches Call the Midwife. It's such fun! No spoilers though; I haven't caught up since Jenny left.

    Finding time to use the computer can be tough. I tend to get on the blog whenever I'm watching TV, although as I get more and more in to quilting, the more shows I cut out of my lineup. I hope you find something that works for you. I haven't found a good balance yet. I tend to write several posts at once, then go through later and schedule them. Of course, I then miss out on what's going on in Game of Thrones.

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  21. I really enjoyed reading your post! On most days, I only spend a few hours on the internet first thing in the morning waiting for my pain pill to take effect and it does not hurt to move from the severe arthritis I have developed. Then I begin to balance housework, pets and quilting throughout the remainder of the day. Then depending on how long I did sew/iron/cut will depend on how bad the pain has increased which usually a lot. So I may spend time on the computer once again or more than likely doing hand embroidery. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

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  22. I really enjoyed reading your post! On most days, I only spend a few hours on the internet first thing in the morning waiting for my pain pill to take effect and it does not hurt to move from the severe arthritis I have developed. Then I begin to balance housework, pets and quilting throughout the remainder of the day. Then depending on how long I did sew/iron/cut will depend on how bad the pain has increased which usually a lot. So I may spend time on the computer once again or more than likely doing hand embroidery. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

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  23. So lovely to meet you!! I find that setting a timer and sticking with it, helps to regulate the computer/sewing... But we keep adding things to do, don't we?!
    As you wish!!! XX! Lori

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  24. Great post Sandra. The online and quilting balance is very difficult. I tend to do most of the online stuff when I'm too tired to sew or when i want to hang out in the same room with my husband watching t.v.

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  25. Congratulations on the retirement, Sandra. What a great post sharing all about yourself. I love Downtown Abbey as well.

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  26. Thank you for sharing so much...I also find a lovely community of like-minded quilters while also trying to find ones close to me in my community. This whole experience is going to be awesome! I also,love Downton but really really love Call the Midwife. Are you watching this season?

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  27. Well, dear sister, you just have to be like me and just don't quilt! That frees up a lot of time to be on the computer if necessary LOL. I guess you just have to set time limits for both :).

    Seaside Rose is probably my favourite quilt of yours too, though indecisiveness runs rampant in our family so it's hard to name just ONE favourite! :)

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  28. Wow Sandra, what a great introductory post! I love that this Blog Hop is getting us connected. I frequently feel like I'm stumbling around in the dark out here by myself, so I'm really enjoying finding other quilters. Your work is absolutely gorgeous, maybe in 20 years I'll be at that level, LOL.

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  29. I can relate to your late in life change. My husband and his partner of 20+ years had a friendly split up a few years ago and we went out on our own. It is scary starting over in your early 50's. Thanks for sharing all your lovely work. I hope you can get plugged into your local guild. I am quite shy and it took me a year to get comfortable but now I am just one of the girls.

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  30. I love reading posts like this. So fun to learn new things. And your yoga at bag... Amazing!!! I have to set time limits for the computer and remind myself that blogging and reading blogs is not a job. I don't have to do it. It takes the pressure off so I can enjoy doing it.

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  31. Just love your photo of Seaside Rose beside Lake Erie - beautiful quilt, beautiful backdrop!

    Internet vs sewing... hard! I try to leave internet for when I'm too tired to sew, but sometimes you just get sucked down a rabbit hole...

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  32. I'm so glad I've gotten to know you better during the hop! Love your #quiltcats pictures!

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  33. Love the tip on trimming HSTs!! I have been putting off making a quilt that I am in love with because it is primarly HST and I so hate to trim. But doing them 2 at a time won't be so bad. :)
    craftyccain@gmail.com

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  34. I so enjoyed your post! You are a women I would love to hang out with!! This has been such a great experiance (blog hop) and happy to have found so many wonderful blogs/people! Oh crap! I am the last one to ask how you balance computer with sewing...when I get down to serious quilting, you can't tear me away, but the dang computer does creep up on you and you can't help but get sucked in!

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  35. Excellent blogging tip. I remember replying to many comments through my blog without knowing that no one knew I had responded. I wish the blogging platforms would send an e-mail when you respond to a comment through the blog, but it's good to not be fooled into thinking your commenters are going to get something in their inbox when they aren't. Your quilts are lovely. I've visiting through the New Quilt Blogger Hop; I participated last year. I blog over at www.quiltingmod.com.

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  36. Hi Sandra! I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself.

    So to answer your question about balancing blogging v sewing time, I tend to do the vast majority of my blogging on my phone via the blogger app so I get that done when I am commuting to work or watching TV or have a spare minute. I really only do it on the real computer when I want to finish up the post and do all the things you can't do in the app (captions, links and stuff). That's how I mange to balance it. I'd spend all day sewing if I could!

    Oh and how good is Cutting for Stone? I thoroughly enjoyed that book. I have read quite a few of your other faves but there were a few that are new to me that I might have to check out.

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  37. Hi Sandra, nice getting to know you! I was part of last year's blog hop and I hope you're having as much fun as I did. Loved learning more about you and seeing some of your beautiful quilts. I have no suggestions on how to balance computer time with sewing time. I'm definitely the wrong person to ask. Being in my mid-40's with a 5 year old, I'm still trying to balance parenting, computer time, sewing time, and going back to work. It's overwhelming.

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  38. Hi Sandra, Fellow Sew Fabulous Hive member here. We are kind of close by each other. I am in Windsor. This New Quilt Blogger Hop has been great connecting with fellow quilters. Looking forward to more posts!

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  39. Sandra, thanks for sharing your journey. And the double HST trimming is great! The other day I heard Luke from entropies at a podcast talk about how he does something like cyber Monday's (or promo Monday? Something like that, I don't remember what he called), but the point is that he saves Monday's to do his online stuff. I really liked that idea of separating one day to focus on blogging, posting on Etsy, or whatever you need to do online. I am trying that, but haven't been successful yet :D

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  40. Great introduction post, thanks Sandra! I too struggle with finding a balance between computer and sewing time (not to mention family time!) I try to do most of my computer work at night otherwise I find my day time sewing hours just disappear!

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  41. It's so funny that you should mention balance. That very word has been on my mind for the last few weeks and I almost asked the very same question in my post for the blog hop. Anyway, I have a different question for you. Is the Outlander TV show any good? I love the series but have been avoiding the show because I don't want to be disappointed.

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  42. What a beautiful, heart-felt, personal post. I love learning more about you! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, and for participating in this blog hop. (And by the way, we have a lot of favorite books in common). I hope we get to meet in person someday.

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  43. Hi Sandra. It's nice to get to know you. Congratulations on your early retirement. What did you teach? I taught middle school math for 11 years before staying home to have kids. A balance between computer and sewing is hard. I totally hear ya on the "I'll just check my email real quick" rabbit hole. My secret to productivity is to not sit down on the couch. And I have the best time focusing on blog writing when I do it outside my house (coffee shop, library, etc.). At home there's a lot of, "I just need to rotate the laundry" etc. to distract me. ;-) Now to get off the couch and finish my mini quilt that I need to mail out tomorrow. :-)

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  44. Wow, you are brave! While we may be getting older, that doesn' t mean we can.t still be cool (you are) and still learn to do stuff ( the splits! Wow) I felt the same way when I discovered modern quilts. Like I found a new home. I enjoyed learning about you more, and I will see you around the blog hop

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  45. I want to go off on a tangent here about "Call the Midwife", but I don't know if you are all caught up on the show and I don't want ruin anything, but if you are caught up I will gladly air grievances to you ;)

    I absolutely love your blog! My husband is from Ontario also, and he lived not far from Kingsville for a little while. We were up in Ottawa for my sister-in-laws graduation from Carleton, and I couldn't get over how pretty Canada
    is. I am glad you entered that BOM drawing, because I really enjoy reading your blog!
    -Abby

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  46. Hello, how nice to meet you! I love your summer breeze quilt, it's beautiful! I recently started taking yoga classes and whilst I'm not yet any more flexible, I'm enjoying it a lot. Maybe one day I'll be able to do the splits! I completely agree with your tip about responding to comments on email, I can't help thinking that bloggers who reply on their own blog are wasting their time as who has the time to revisit each comment they made to check for replies?

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  47. Your Bella looks a lot like my Cinni-mini! They really are the best helpers. We joined the ranks of Moda Bakeshop as chefs around the same time, so fun we are on this newbie blog hop together! I'm going to need to spend more time in the facebook group and figuring out the blog-reply thing...I all of a sudden have no idea as to whether or not anyone I've ever replied to has ACTUALLY received my replies...yikes! I just assumed it send an email to the person with the response. Ooops!

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  48. Nice to learn more about you Early retirement sounds lovely and I am now gripped by an ambition to take up yoga. I read/comment on other people's blogs with my early morning cup of tea but try to stay off them the rest of the time.

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  49. Nice to meet you! Love your blog

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  50. popped over from the quantam quilters hive in the blog hop, my turn on Monday, eeks. I really enjoyed your blog post, we too are contimplating leaving work (me early) and living where we are but enjoying life and travelling much more .. Enjoyed your post and look forward to seeing more of your quilting.

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  51. I saw when skimming through the comments to your blog, that several people liked your Summer Breeze quilt as much as I do. I really appreciate your HST tip. I'm definitely going to try it.

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  52. So lovely to meet you and add you to my Feedly feed. I very much enjoyed reading about your story of how you ended up in Ontario and having moved globally a number of times (now living on the other side of the world from where I was born!) I understand how hard it sometimes is to break into established communities. I look forward to getting to know you more now I am a follower!

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  53. Absolutely beautiful quilts!! I too have a too big for my lap "lap dog" but I just can't resist his sweetness! Ooo..and Princess Bride is my favorite too!!

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  54. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I just love your writing style! So conversational and authentic and FUN!(And what do you mean about the Pinterest button? - I think it's great!) Computer/sewing balance has been a tough one for me lately - seems heavy on the computer side right now, but that's OK. Just like pretty much everything in life there's an ebb and flow about it, so I'm sure I'll be back to sewing like a crazy person and totally neglecting to share any of it, lol! Thanks for sharing your clever 2-for-1 HST tip, I'll be using it for sure!

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  55. You are definitely full of spunk! I love it! Your quilts are quite beautiful and you can tell there is lots of hard work in them. Congratulations for taking the bold move, even if prepared or not, I don't think anyone (just like having children) are ever really "prepared" for such a drastic change. It warms me to know that the blog and the community in general has helped enrich your life, that is what I believe this community is so much about. I look forward to getting to know you more throughout the blog hop!

    *Stopping by from the 2015 New Blogger Blog Hop - New Bee's

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