Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #21 - Melting Heart

This pose is known in Sanskrit by Anahatasana.  Say it slowly, emphasis on ahh (what you feel after doing it😉: Ana--hah--tah--son--ahh....  Asana, the last part of most yoga pose names, simply means pose.  This is also known as puppy pose; see Yoga Journal.

Bernie Clark states in his book, p. 246 "The Indian yogis noticed a correlation between our bodies and our heart. Don't be surprised if, during a deep yoga practice, emotions start to surface."  I often say in my classes that we have issues in our tissues; therefore, applying tension to deeper areas of our bodies such as within our hip joints, or in this pose, within our chest, spine, shoulders, arms, can stir up emotions, past memories, and thoughts. I love what Sarah Powers says, and I'm paraphrasing her, that the beauty of Yin is that we can allow these emotions to surface, we can experience them fully, without feeling the need to act out because of them.  And then.... (my own words), the magic happens: this deep-seated emotional baggage can leave the body, over time, probably not in one 3-5 minute hold however(!) and, you are then lighter, happier, more at peace.
Lake Erie, from my new vantage point, a few days ago
This pose inverts and 'melts' your heart, which, in the Daoist beliefs, is considered the supreme manager, overseeing all the workings of the body-mind. Sarah Powers writes, "Its radiance spreads out to every cell and expresses itself in our creativity, interactions and capacity for communication." Here's to a healthy heart and healthy heart chi (energy).

After hours of sewing, you may feel tight in the shoulders, along the arms, perhaps a stiffness in the wrists and definitely in the hips and knees, usually a tightness or stiffness across the pecs and collarbones... Sound familiar? Anahatasana can help with all of this.  Yup.  So get out of your chair, fold a quilt for under your knees and come down onto all fours. If you have trouble getting back up, do this by your sewing chair so you can use it to lean on to help you get back up.

Stage 1 Once you are on all fours, walk your hands forward, keeping them shoulder-width apart if possible, coming to rest on your forearms at first, keeping your bum high in the air and over your knees. Think of a right angle formed at the back of your knees by the backs of your thighs and your calves.  Maybe this is where you stay, letting your belly relax and hang, feeling an arch in your lower back. Toes can be tucked under or you can rest on the tops of your feet. Head can be in line with your spine, or perhaps you can rest it on one forearm. Breathe slowly, counting to 3 or 4 on the inhale and the same slow steady count on the exhale. Always come out of this pose on an inhale.
Do you see our new granite countertops?! ADORE!! Toe-kick under the cabinets still needs to be installed (and ordered from IKEA) as do the side panels to finish off the ends of the cabinets. Oh, and the backsplash tile too...  Oh, and install the dishwasher now... Just a few 😉 more items for MacGyver!

Variation: You may like to rest your upper body on another rolled up quilt or two, and this modification may allow you to extend your arms. You may either rest on your forehead (Take your glasses off! Ask me how I know...) or on your chin, but that is fairly hard on the neck.
Send your butt backwards; here mine could go back a little more.

This pose works into the upper back, the shoulder blades and across the front of the chest. So, see if you can stretch both of your arms right out, palms flat, fingers spread for good energy flow. However, as I mentioned, you may find you need to rest your forehead on one forearm, leaving the other outstretched; just remember to switch arms at the halfway point. Relax your spine, your belly, and you will feel how this starts to tug on the tissues across the front of the chest, along the upper arms, mainly in the triceps, (back of the upper arms), the shoulder heads, and between the shoulder blades.

Hold for 2-5 minutes. Careful. Maybe at first just 1 minute per outstretched arm is enough. This pose could put strain on your neck, so be mindful; any pain or too intense sensations, back off, or try resting your forehead on a block, cushion, or an extra rolled up quilt. Same with tingling in the fingers or hands: this could indicate a nerve being compressed, so lower the arms to the goalpost position, or perhaps skip this and try Fish pose, which is similar for opening the chest. Any pinching in the back of the shoulders, adjust your arm position as noted.

If getting down onto and back up off of the floor is an issue for you, don't give up!  Don't give up on keeping trying to get down and back up, because it is so good for your body, and don't give up on doing a variation of this pose. Try this in a doorway:

I learned this from a massage therapist. Here, you put your arms on either side of the door, goalpost position, and slowly lean forward into the doorway without moving your arms. You won't quite get the backbend you get by doing Anahatasana, but you certainly do get a lovely pull across the front of your chest and a bit of a bend in the upper spine as your shoulder blades come towards each other. It doesn't look like I'm leaning much, and it certainly didn't feel like it, but holy Hannah, it sure felt strong in the arms and shoulders! Watch the head position; I am, ahem, leaning a little too much with my head here! It's not about your head going forward! Sorry about that, but there, you see I'm in need of tweaking all the time too.

Remember that Yin yoga works with the meridians, the energy highways in the body, those same meridians and trigger points used in acupuncture and acupressure. Therefore, a little pressure into your pointers will hit a trigger point on the Large Intestine meridian, into the thumbs, the Lung meridian, the pinkies, the Heart and Small Intestine meridians.
After you've held the pose for 2 to 3 minutes (work up to 5 over time), then either rest back in child's pose or lie down on your belly. If you've done it standing, maybe sit down and be still for a minute or so, noting sensations, breathing.

Ahh! That's better!  Have a good drink of water, and you're good to go for some more sewing!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"C' Boss!" Cows Quilt

I can't type that phrase, "C' Boss!" without hearing my Auntie Irene hollering, early in the morning, and around suppertime, the lilt in her voice, going up on the 'CUH?' sound, and and emphatic on the 'Boss!' (a perfect fourth, if my musical background serves me still) Seeing, in my mind's eye, the cows come up from the pasture to the barnyard for milking, round ribs bulging side to side out over their dainty hooves as they plod along, udders swaying. My aunt turned 75 in December 2015. This quilt is for her. This might be the longest post I've written, fair warning.

It started in March 2015 when I saw LeeAnna's cow block that she'd made for Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy for that year.  Ding! Ding! I knew I had to make a cow quilt for my aunt.  I am so happy and proud to have another Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt done!

The first two blocks, the blue and the pink, were made in record time. Then the cows sat for awhile as I concentrated on other things.  I finished the flimsy in January this year. I knew it wouldn't get quilted until we were back home, and my longarm, Avril, was set up in my sewing loft.
Anti-clockwise from the blue (January) girl: pink (February), Citron (March-yellow), purple (April), Ethel -(May-green) and Carib (June-aqua)
This is not a block (paper-pieced) for the faint of heart.  The red heifer was a heifer to piece, LOL, and so she got named Mary, as in Bloody for the drink, and because I might've muttered a few 'bloodies' and worse while I constructed her. Some of the cows named themselves; some have no names as of yet...but they might soon be getting one, thanks to my friend Helen of Word Weaver Art. That might be a subject for another post...or three, ha.
Anti-clockwise from the bull, a tad out of calendar order, the bull is Jethro Tull, black (August), Bloody Mary, (August-red), orange (September), Kahlua, (October-brown), lime (November) and Myrrh Tull, main wife of Jethro (December).
I quilted various motifs in their ears: feathers, pebbles, paisleys, figure eights, swirls and flowers.  The background got a super-fun swirl filler, which is based on the motif in the fabric.😉 It was an overcast and windy day today (Friday) so the photos aren't the greatest. I spied this London plane tree just outside the yoga studio in Windsor where I go to practice Ashtanga in the early morning. Threw the SUV in park and like a crazy person ripped open the passenger door, snagged the quilt, dashed to the sidewalk (of course I checked for both traffic and No Parking signs, but hey it was like 8 am) and set up the shoot:

Holy Cow! Holstein cow bark much?! How I love the bark of these trees I first spied in Nice, France! Little did I know I would live amongst them one day.

After I taught yoga in the late afternoon, I drove to my beloved, much-missed Lakeside Park and did the main photo shoot. A glint of sun, glowering clouds over Lake Erie to the south, but I and the quilt persevered.

The cows went to the beach:
They hung out in a tree, but some were too shy to show their faces:

They perched on a bench with a little encouragement:

They frolicked in the hydrangeas:

Man the gardens here are stunning this year. Our horticultural club has done amazing work, just ahh-mazing. Here's just one shot that doesn't do the riot of colour justice:
Can you spy the lake through the distant trees?
I always peruse sale sections of quilt shops IRL and online, for good backs.  I found this perfect one for the main backing at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop.  The farm animals doing yoga I found at eQuilter.

The quilt label is fashioned from some Laurel Burch purple paws fabric I got from Jake, a sweet reader who has become a dear friend, and also from border scraps. The label itself was given to me by another aunt, cousin to Auntie Irene. All in the family, eh?

I quilted a few surprises in the quilt.  Here is one:

The barn block got some special treatment too:
I followed the hay strands, did a woodgrain design on the door, vertical lines on the barn front, horizontal ones on the side to emulate the wood, and on the roof I did a slightly curving line to give the roof some dimension, and along the lower edge I quilted my aunt's last name.  On the purple mini-churn dash (finishing at 6"; the others are all 12") I did the same dot to dot design as I did in the large ones, such as the red one pictured here. I outlined the flowers and the cat in the centre of the purple churn dash, more symbols of what my aunt loves. If you look closely you'll see '75' in the lower right corner of that centre.

Well, since I didn't finish this post yesterday as planned (but our granite countertops got installed!!), and it is now a most glorious morning, I took a few post-wash shots. Here is the barn block:
Still very windy today

Avril just hummed a merry tune as we quilted together. I changed threads a lot, perhaps the most of any quilt I've quilted so far.
The majority of threads are Essential from Connecting Threads cottons, one Sulky rayon, one Aurifil cotton, two Exquisite polyester, and all the swirly background and churn dash blocks were quilted with So Fine.
That photo was taken after I'd washed and dried the quilt for 10-15 minutes in the dryer and then laid it flat to finish drying overnight. I absolutely love how the threads all sunk in so deliciously. There are a few several more photos of the crinkly texture, don't worry!

Here's another I always like, the rolled or folded up shot:

I know I need to do a comparison post of the various battings I've used. For this quilt I used Warm n Natural and I am in love with it all over again. Light, but warm, lovely to quilt through and lovely texture after washing. Speaking of texture, don't you love the design etched into the stone bench?

This quilt will be leaving me shortly, sniff. I know it's going to a good home, where it will be much-loved and, much-used (I will make sure to tell my aunt that!) This might be a big part of why there are many photos in this post, that and the fact that I've fallen horns over hooves in love with it and want to record every bit of it...

I free-motion quilted a simple flowing lazy daisy and leaves motif in the border. I showed you how I do the rolling forward, rolling backward on a longarm in this post.  There you'll get the tutorial for how to stitch the churn dash blocks in one pass, no breaks, either on a domestic machine or a longarm.

I machine-stitched the binding to the front and then machine-stitched it to the back from the front, by stitching in that ditch. This is my preferred method of binding a quilt, as it most resembles the hand-stitched to the back method. Gluing it down to the back side is key to catch that edge with my stitching! The little bit of stitching you see on the right is the stay-stitching done on the longarm, which I need to sit and pick out; I always match the thread used to stitch the backing down with both the border and the binding fabrics so it's next to invisible.

Was I happy and vindicated, as I said on Instagram earlier this week, that I hang onto fabrics that are several years old! This binding fabric I picked up in a sale section of a quilt shop in Fort Myers, FL maybe 7-8 years ago! I knew it would work some day as a great binding or a backing. I already used it for that very thing in Uncle Frank's con fuoco quilt!


Not only does this quilt have a lot of meaning and symbolism for the recipient, is also has a bit of a story all of its own.  This quilt has brought into my life a most cherished person, someone I would not have met had I not started this blog, and written of things dear to my heart, shared personal stories, thoughts and beliefs, not just of my soul, but of my quilts. Helen of Word Weaver Art found my blog when she saw a photo of a one of my cow blocks pinned on Pinterest.

You need to go check out painter extraordinaire Helen's blog,  especially her cow paintings (that takes you to a recent one of Cookie Dough). Helen started commenting on a few of my posts, and we started to really connect, I mean really. What at first appeared to be two women with little in common (she tells the story so well in this post) soon proved to be a deep connection on multiple levels.  We talked about process, colour, teaching, reading, writing(!), life after 50 and after retirement, and more.  She has watched and loved my herd of cows slowly grow over 2+ years, and now be finished.

I mentioned that not all the cows have names.  She thought I should name each one of them, and I heartily agree. On the Jethro Tull the Bull post, she actually wrote a limerick for his favourite wife, sexy Myrrh Tull, pictured below, bottom right...

The Christmas cow known as Myrrh Tull
Could never be thought of as dull,
She was brazen and bold
With her eyes of gold
Mooing "Come hither" to Jethro the bull.

Not to take away from Myrrh's glory or her shining eyes (lamé fabric) but here you can really see the daisies in Citron's ear (remember she prefers la prononciation française, 'see-trohn') and the dot-to-dot in the churn dash blocks, thanks to the sun and the laundering.
Helen started something; well the cows did too, because as I made each one, they started to take on a type of personality. However, Helen recognized it, and ran with it. Two other bloggers wrote poetry for Jethro...
Nita of Nita Dances wrote, (I've added a word here and there so the rhythm is correct for limericks--didn't teach 'em to my grade 7's for well over a decade without having the form cemented in my brain, ha):

Old Jethro the bull
Massive head hanging low
Shuffled over to Myrrh Lynn Tull:
"I do say my dear,
I don't mean to leer,
But your udder is stunningly low."

Lara of Buzzin' Bumble chimed in with a little naughty poetry after that:
Jethro may be small, but he can handle his harem;
It's a good thing you only sewed his head--
Because his dangly bits could scare 'em!
Speaking of massive...and dangling 😳😜I fought the wind again at the park trying to stuff the quilt between the massive trunks of this favourite cottonwood of mine. Think old Jethro is either busy with one of his herd or he's has indeed scared a few off with said dangly bits and they've hidden!

Helen wrote another limerick, this one for Bloody Mary, top left in the photo above:
The red cow is named Bloody Mary
She is difficult and quite contrary.
Her nostrils may flare
And cause Sandra to swear
Which is totally unnecessary!

Helen it was who said each cow needs a name, and in looking back I see that the turquoise one named herself, a bit of a pun too, Carib. Short for Caribbean and for carob that comes from there. Of course you know the yellow one named herself Citron. Each one needs a story of sorts, and wouldn't it be something to see a children's book with each cow featured in her own story, the quilt of them all at the end, with instructions for a doting nana to make one?! Helen's idea again, my additions to it...oh the possibilities when great minds, and creative spirits collide! I've witnessed and been a part of this time and again, mainly through my teaching career, but also outside of it.
Cows hanging out on the bridge

Power of a great mind, creative spirit and serendipitous 'mistake' is another sidenote to this quilt. In rereading the Jethro post, I saw the note where I'd inadvertently reversed the rail fence sections of the churn dash block and got an entirely different-looking block.

Well, that block led to this:
Which led to being published in Benartex's Modern By the Yard e-zine!

Quite the story this quilt has! The cows have travelled back and forth to Florida, some of them twice, and soon will hop onto a plane with my husband to be delivered (finally!) to the birthday girl.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  cows are by Piecemeal Quilts; bull is from Quilting in Amsterdam; barn is basically my own, explanation is here; layout is my own design.
Size:  68.5 X 71.75" after laundering: 65.5 X 68.5 (wow! 3" shrinkage!)
Fabric:  scraps from my stash; background and border are purchased, Moda 'Swirls' and Red Rooster 'Mementos' by Gudrun Erla respectively. Backing is Windham Fabrics 'Farm Chic' by Kate McRostie and elizabeth's studio by Willow Creek
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: on Avril my Avanté
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Superior Threads So Fine 50 wt #403, Essential 50 wt cotton by Connecting Threads, Sulky Rayon, Aurifil 50 wt cotton, and Exquisite polyester.

Linking up
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts
Cooking Up Quilts

DrEAMi! Linky #6

I nearly forgot about the July DrEAMi! for July, so I am interrupting my post in progress on the Cows quilt, which should have been published yesterday but wasn't, to write this up and get it posted for you to link up. I'll leave it open all week, as usual. Please feel free to add a link from June if you had a Drop Everything And Make It! moment during that month, since there was no DrEAMi! in June.

Can you have AtDrEAMi! moments? (About to Drop Everything And Make It!) I believe you can...LOL. Within the next day, I am having one, and within the first half of this coming week I am having another. What? Scheduled DrEAMis/DrEAMies (whatever the plural would be, or DrEAMi! moments, there that's easier!)... Well, a fast and simple project is going to be made today using this PURR-fect or ROAR-fect fabric I snagged at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop Free Shipping within Canada sale last weekend (and it arrived on Wednesday, like super-fast shipping despite a huge influx of sales, love it):

Update: Here's the finished product! Whipped it up Saturday night. It kind of suddenly took a bit of a curve, and I'm totally fine with that.
From cutting to finish, it took 45 minutes! It's the Roll It Up! pillowcase on All People Quilt -I've made the pattern many many times. I suddenly had the idea to stitch Brady's name down the navy blue band. Wrote it in chalk pencil, then FMQ-ed it with Sulky rayon.

And a baby quilt using these beauties:

Both projects are under a very tight deadline, which is why they both are DrEAMi! projects; however, the lions and tigers fabric is very definitely a DrEAMi! as when I spied that, I knew a certain Leo whose birthday is tomorrow needs something made with this fabric. This little Leo's grandpa is going to visit him this week.  The other is for the Fall issue of Modern By The Yard, Benartex's e-zine, so it's less of a DrEAMi!; however, I am having to set other projects aside to get it done for the deadline to have it sent for photographing.

Since this has turned into a bit of a fabric ogling post, thought I'd just mention two quick things available at Connecting Threads (that is an affiliate link as are the ones below).  The first is that wide backing is on sale for 8.96/yard US. Even with the exchange, that is a terrific price. I bought some on their last sale for my other aunt's quilt, and have been happy with it, but I will let you know how it quilts and washes up. The second is that Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts has just released her second line with them and I actually like it more than her first!
At only 6.96/yard I do believe some will be coming to live in my house. Love that pale green with the red, reminds me of Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew colours. Psst! They have her fabric too... And remember they ship free at some pretty decent minimum purchase amounts. As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for purchasing through my links and supporting this blog, the writing of which makes me so very happy.

If a class is what you feel like cuddling up with on a Saturday night, then know that Craftsy has a TON of them on for less than $20. They also have a pretty good clearance section, just sayin'...

Temptations! Now, let's see what DrEAMi! moments you've had these past couple of months, those squirrels, like that lions fabric that you just HAVE to drop current projects and make right NOW!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Quilting Motif and A Longarm Technique

As you know, I'm working on quilting the Cows quilt. I have four heifers left, a few churn dashes and the barn. Well, I also have to finish the other half, or two-thirds more like it, of the border.  As is usually the case when I quilt a quilt, I have a very, I mean very, vague quilting plan in my head.  Once the quilt is loaded, it starts to talk to, sometimes whisper to, sometimes cajole, me.  Such was the case with this one.  I had no idea how I was going to quilt the churn dash blocks, also known by several other names, including Hole in the Barn Door. Most à propos for this bovine bedcover. Once loaded on the frame, I had an idea...
"What the heck?"  you're probably thinking, or maybe, "Ooh, love that fabric," or even, as Tish said when I sent her the yellow cow all quilted, "Those swirls are awesome!"

Here is how you quilt this block in one pass, ditch stitching and all! AND this can be done on either a longarm or a domestic machine! Use a ruler or your walking foot.

1. Start here. ('well duh')
2. Stitch to point 2 (probably still, 'well, duh,' but just in case...) the centre of the inner 'box'
3. Stitch a square in the centre of the purple rectangles, which in my case, for this 12" block, is 1" in from the seam line. Go all the way around until you wind up back at point 2.
4.  Stitch out to point 4.
5. From point 4 stitch another elongated 'v' shape (we're doing dot to dot à la Angela Walters in case you haven't noticed) ending at point 5.  Which is really point 1. 😉
6. Stitch in the ditch (aka SID) over to point 6. Note my attempt at dotted lines to indicate SID!
7. Stitch in to point 7, which is the top right corner of the box you stitched in step 3.  Repeat from step 4 for all four corners of the block, ending back at point 1!

Then I SID along a floral seam line to an inside corner, stitched in the ditch all the way around the inner square, and did the swirl filler in there, then went back out again and continued the swirl filler for the background around the outside. I'm using Superior Threads So Fine colour 403 which blends nicely with both background and all the churn dash blocks.

A LongarmTechnique for Continuous Quilting

About a year, maybe more, ago, a reader asked if I could explain how I advance, then back up, then advance a quilt on the longarm. This was when I was doing Dayna's quilt, Shoot for the Moon, and trying to get as long a pass as I could at some of the intricate designs on her quilt.  I found myself doing this for the outer border design for this quilt.  I am self-taught, other than watching online videos and Craftsy classes by Leah Day, Angela Walters, and Natalia Bonner, oh and Jamie Wallen Youtube too, and none of them talk about this, so it's just me. If you think that "GASP! This is just not done!" well, I do it, and it works fine. 😁

For the top section of border, it was easy to start on the left side of the quilt, about 15" down from the top left corner, quilt up to the corner, across the top border, and down to the same starting point on the right side of the quilt. I did the border after I'd quilted the first row of cows and churn dash blocks, so I advanced the quilt and continued down the border for another 15" or so (I have an 18" Avanté). This meant I could quilt longer without breaking thread.

1. So now I am at the point where I have quilted two more rows of cows and churn dashes and I want to do more of the border. First stitch in the ditch between the border and the background of the quilt. Also stitch 1/4" in from the outside.

2. Next, advance the quilt, and SID as you just did. You can see I was able to stitch all along the red churn dash and about half way into the barn block. Do this SID on the border on the opposite side of the quilt as well.

3.  Then, back up to where you started the ditch stitching (first pic).  At first when I wound the quilt backwards, I freaked because the quilt sandwich, in its entirety: top, batting and now backing, got wound up on the belly bar!
Yikes! I thought something bad would happen...but it didn't!  So starting at the point where I was in photo 1, I switch now to my mauve thread, and continue the border motif over the course of that length of the border, advance the quilt to photo 2 spot, and continue doing the border up to being level with the barn.  I'll stop there.

4. Then I go over to the opposite side, in this case the left, back up the quilt again to the photo 1 spot, but on the left side of the quilt, and pick up where I'd left off on that border, quilting down until I'm level with the barn block.

The barn block is in the bottom right corner, so once I've finished quilting the last two rows of the quilt, I'll be able to pick up the border motif about the level of the bottom of the barn roof, quilt down to the bottom right corner and across the bottom, and back up to meet where I left off on the left side of the quilt!

It's not as wonderful as doing the border in one continuous pass like you can with a DSM or sit-down quilt machine, but you can get fairly lengthy passes.  And it is wonderful not to have the weight of the quilt to manipulate through the machine.

Having a dedicated quilting machine means I can still piece if I feel the urge...
Blocks 103-105. Clockwise from top left: 103: Helen Smith Grant - Captain of her husband's ship when he took ill, she navigated rom China to Montreal in the mid-1880s, as well as taking care of her children. The family settled in Victoria, BC, where, in 1895, Helen became the first and only school board trustee in Canada. 104 - Lois Irene Smith - Canada's first and foremost ballerina, idolized by Karen Kain, she established the Lois Smith Dance School in Toronto. 105: Helen Irene Battle - first woman in Canada to earn a PhD in marine biology. I used a fish print for one of the centre background triangles and a shell motif embossed on an ivory fabric for another.
I made block 106 this morning, so as of writing this post, I am only two blocks behind in the 150 Canadian Women QAL!  I aimed for one block a day this past week, and I've done it, so if I can keep that up this coming week, I should be all caught up by next weekend. Yay! I also worked on a couple of my RSC 2017 projects, which I'll show you in another post.

Linking Up
Cooking Up Quilts
Free Motion by the River

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Like/Love #6

I checked back to see what number this I Like/Love post should be and I realized I missed #3, and that it is mostly written...ha. I wrote it when I was in Florida, but with the move I guess I did not publish it! Will do that.  Next time. Here are some positive thoughts of mine:


It started with this beefsteak tomato I spied this morning.  I did not intend to write a post today, but when I saw this bright red jewel, well, maybe not quite red yet, right by my side door entrance, plucked it carefully (should've staked this poor plant, had no clue it would get this big and heavy with fruit), and marvelled at it, a rush of gratitude came over me, and I thought, 'I need to write this.'  So I love tomatoes.  Love.  In all varieties, colours, forms and dishes. Growing my very own takes this to a very personal level of love and appreciation.  I didn't eat it for lunch, because I want it to ripen a little more, but I sure will, one slice covering a slice of bread for a most-anticipated toasted tomato sandwich.  I get gorgeous delicious homegrown tomatoes of all varieties at the little stand down the road, within walking distance, so that is why I just planted one plant.  I am pretty tickled at my first fruit.

I like writing.  Well, duh.  I always have.  I also like designing (sneak peek at an upcoming pattern to be tested yet and written and released), and I like pretty and interesting notepaper. I'm writing to Brady on a regular basis, and also sending him little packages from time to time. He LOVES walking around the corner to get their mail, but he expressed with a sigh and roll of the eyes, that he rarely gets mail; it's usually his mum.  I've decided to change that. And I'm enjoying writing to him, by hand.  The first letter went on those dinosaur notelets.  He was pretty pumped, "Nana, we can be penpals!" Those words warmed my heart.  I sent him another yesterday on the teddy bear notepaper.

I love reading.  Always have.  I come from a long line of bookworms, both daughters are readers, and so is Brady. Whenever we are together, we read a book before bedtime. Last September we read Little House in the Big Woods. In November it was Owls in the Family, which we finished last month (he didn't want me to finish it on FaceTime).  Then we read The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  He loves the Wimpy Kid books and has zipped through the first eight.  Now he is reading Matilda ("it's taking longer to read, Nana; the pages have more words on") and I couldn't remember it, so I got it out of the library to re-read and then we can discuss it. Which I did, first couple of chapters, in yesterday's letter! And wouldn't you know it: Matilda loves to read!

4.  I love libraries.  When I went in to pick up Matilda, put on hold, I wandered over to the quilt section, and snagged those five books.  I'll let you know my thoughts on them.  All recent.  Fresh colours!


Speaking of fresh...I am loving our evolving new kitchen! How blessed am I to have such a talented husband who can not only design, (with my approval and wee tweaks), assemble, and install the IKEA cabinets, drywall, run waterlines, but also can even MacGyver one cabinet a little to make things all fit!  See the handle-less one on the left side of the dishwasher, which is not installed yet; needs to run plumbing yet methinks. Soon! Well, that end cabinet was 3/16" too wide to fit, so he had to 'rip' that amount off one of the side panels. How he did it and still has the beautiful melamine finish on both outside and inside of both sides, I have no idea.  Magic.  We moved the sink to where you see it now, although that is the old sink; the new one goes in when the granite, which you see on the left of the photo, gets week! I wasn't sure about not having the sink under the window, but I had an idea, which is doable: a stained glass window over the sink, letting in light from the porch on the other side of that wall!

6. I am loving the sultry humid and hot days of July and August, and on into September, apparent in the above photo by the moisture you see on that window, and the visible greenery beyond.  I am not loving the fact that our AC has quit.  At least we are able to sleep because we have a little window unit, so I like window AC units!

7.  I really like Seth Godin's blog. Julie of Pink Doxies put me onto him. I get his posts by email so I never miss one. Some I skim, some I read more than once, and some I read aloud to MacGyver, like today's post about 'dumbing it down'. His last few sentences resonate so deeply:
"Everyone owns a media company now. Even media companies. And with that ownership comes a choice, a choice about the people we serve, the words we use and the change we seek to make.
It's only a race to the bottom if we let it be one."

My blog is my media company. I choose to be positive, helpful and hopefully inspirational. 😊

 I'm off to the hot upstairs loft now to work on the Cows quilt.  Yay for fans!

Linking up with LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Colour

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Tragedy...with a Silver Lining

Little did I know that when I finally sat down, a year after the fact, to write about this tragic event, the Fort McMurray forest fire of 2016, nicknamed "The Beast", inside of which is a feel-good quilt story, that I'd have experienced a tragic loss in my own life.  My dear friend, Linda, who faithfully reads my blog even though she does not sew a stitch, sent me this story several months ago.  She read it in a publication she gets called "Our Canada".  I kept meaning to write about it, but never did.  Now it's time. Interspersed with the words are the few blocks I've picked away at, more inspiration and awe from strong Canadian women, and Cows.

As I write this, forest fires are again raging, 155 right now in British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province.  It shares a border with the state of Washington, in the USA.  Fires are also now crossing into Alberta, province of my birth, where the bulk of our family lives.  This year the fires are mid-province, right now in Kootenay National Park, west of Calgary.  Last year they were in northern Alberta, forcing one of the largest evacuations in Canadian history, the entire city of Fort McMurray, approximately 88 000 people.  Many people returned to find nothing left; many people have not returned and do not plan to.  This link takes you to a timeline of the events.

Another way to heal: enjoying the peace, serenity and greenery of our very private back yard. Thank you to so many for your kind and caring words on my previous post; if I haven't responded it's because you are a no-reply blogger, and I have no email address for you; please know I thank you from my heart.

Friday, July 14, 2017


This is the hardest post I've had to write. I've put it off all week.  Thought of a few sentences. Had a few random thoughts. Did the photos. Left it.  Unsure what to say.  For the first time in, oh, forever, I think, I don't feel much like writing.  Both my daughters have commented about missing reading my posts. A very close blogger friend had good advice: don't wait too long or you may never go back. So here we go.

Some things are constant in life:
'my' lake this week
Some things are not.