Thursday, November 24, 2022

Gratitude #69

Welcome to another monthly post of gratitude.

If you are honest, people may deceive you Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.
--Fredrik Backman

One of the highlights of the month was an evening with my friend Nancy. We spent a lovely afternoon and evening in downtown Windsor at the WIFF, Windsor International Film Festival. We saw two great films, Haute Couture, a French film about the fashion industry and the imminent retirement of the head seamstress. The other was Stay Prayed Up, a documentary about The Branchettes, a gospel group in North Carolina. 

We had a lovely falafel dinner at a sweet little Lebanese restaurant, Shawarma Palace, and had a lovely stroll along the Detroit River between films. 

Happy fish

Another wonderful mural downtown

There are a few murals downtown but these two are the newest and I love them both, especially the one with the lights strung across the alley. It is wonderful to see that things are improving, albeit slowly, downtown. In the 90s, after we'd moved back to Alberta, downtown got overtaken by bars, and it destroyed the downtown living (and other businesses) vibe. Because you can drink at age 19 in Ontario, and not until 21 in Michigan, downtown on the weekends would be jammed with partying young people...not conducive to residential life. 

Reading is a major part of my life and this month was no different. One of the best books I've read this year is Beartown by Fredrik Backman. The opening quote is from it. So much wisdom and commentary on real life. So much heartbreak and heartache (both for good and bad reasons), so much love and hate, and just 'all the feels' as they say which sounds trite but certainly isn't meant to be because this book just filled me up, my heart, my mind, yes, my soul. And it's not, as one reviewer on Goodreads said, Backman's usual warm and fuzzy, poignant kind of book; it is raw and horrific, disgusting in its peeling back of the layers of culture in sports and in small towns, in cliques, in life, period. 

Here are another passage:
Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes much easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn't through love, because love is hard. It makes demands. Hate is simple.

So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that's easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe -- comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy. There are many ways of doing that, but none is easier than taking her name away from her.

Good news is that this is a trilogy, so there are two more! Another excellent read, my 41st for the year (will she make her 50 unstated goal?), I highly recommend is a book that Diann recommended to me: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Another I lived in during the time I was reading it.

I enjoyed Neil Young's interview with Tom Power, the summary of which is in this CBC article. How I wish we had politicians who were brave and committed to a healthier planet. You can hear the entire interview on the CBC Listen app On Demand at 'q with Tom Power'. He's an excellent interviewer! I am grateful to organizations like Environmental Defence,  (and yes, I've put my money where my mouth is) who, along with some 200 other groups, are currently fighting the Ontario government's attempt to destroy protected lands within what we call the Greenbelt. Billionaire developers are salivating to build upon these fragile wetlands and rich agricultural lands. Why don't they give a sh*t about endangered species that rely on these protected areas? The watershed? The natural infrastructure and the planet? Greed. Money. It sickens me. I'm hoping that some big name artists in Ontario will speak out, as those in Alberta did when that government tried to destroy a mountain for more strip mining.

I am grateful for my Roomba. When I think of how hard my grandma worked to keep house, feed six kids and my grandpa and help out everywhere on the farm, in charge of milking, growing a huge garden, putting up all that it yielded, it seems ridiculous that I love that it saves me mopping time. But truly, I get a little gush of pleasure when I set it down in a room after picking up dog beds and other paraphernalia, and pushing the big button to start it, or starting it from the app on my phone. Then I go away and enjoy its noise while I sew! I run it on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and mop on the other days because oh, the dog and Bella fur is atrocious. I like the mop I have too, and the feel of clean hardwood under my feet, which aren't usually bare at this time of year!

An unexpected bit of gratitude stems from me being very sad, and shocked too, when the guy who bought the house next door basically annihilated all the plants, bushes and big trees but for a couple of grandpa trees he cannot chop down. However, it now means that I see the lake from my sewing room windows, more so since the leaves are off the trees. It's not a wide expanse of it, as I'm ten houses away from the shore, but shimmering water I do indeed see. Silver linings...

I like this makeup bag that I made using a charm pack of Moda Sunflower Song I'd bought a few years ago. It is going to a good friend who sometimes reads my blog, so 'nuff said for now. I love the rich deep colours.

I like this Christmas glass bottle that I picked up at Dollarama. They have some adorable decorations for excellent prices. I nabbed a couple of wooden trees as well, one in turquoises that looks cute in the newly renovated bathroom.

If you'd like to read more gratitude posts, (where you can often pick up some good book recommendations as well!) then please pop over to LeeAnna's blog, Not Afraid of Color.

Have to add this other adorable photo I just love. Sadly, Xena continues to suffer from various triggers. She used to love playing with a Kong but for the past, several months, it, like any other toy, triggers her. MacGyver found wrapping her up in his quilt, sausage-style, awww, seemed to help calm her quaking.

Now I'm off to finish going through my upcoming (SO EXCITED) pattern, Rainbow Neighbourhood, which has come back from my trusty tech-editor, Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl. I got the top done yesterday for one of two quilt layouts. Each one is very different, and there will be two cushion cover designs included as well. In case you missed it on Instagram, I had to do a wee bit of surgery to the quilt top earlier this week:

Why I didn't see that I had all three houses with white sky in one column I do not know, but it bugged me enough that I switched the purple with the green house so now the three white sky blocks (first blocks I made back in the 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge) are balanced. The two final borders are on, and I must say I just love it. Going to load it onto Avril today and quilt! It is one of my goals for this last quarter of #wipsbgone and will count as one of my PHD completions.

One last quick note about Black Friday sales: I will be putting all my patterns on sale in my Etsy shop, SandraJaneQuilts, starting today for 25% off, no code required. Thank you for either purchasing, or for spreading the word by pinning my designs on your Pinterest pages. That really helps! The only one not on sale is the original tutorial for the very first house block I made, which is only $4, and my bestselling pattern. This upcoming one will have the instructions for all nine stars used on the side of the houses as well as two extra ones, and four styles of houses, so you have lots of choice to make the quilt your own.

Connecting Threads is the one online quilt shop with whom I'm affiliated, so I thank you if you click through my links before purchasing. The final border and the backing I'm using for the house quilt is from them. They have excellent sales all year but tomorrow's is especially good. As with my Make Modern affiliation, this costs you nothing and gives me a bit of money that helps pay for postage when I send out prizes for my QAL or for other celebrations.


  1. Oh my, I'm so sorry that Xena continues to have so many triggers. I know you are both doing your best to love and comfort her. And wow, silver lining indeed about being able to see the lake; I do hope the new neighbor is friendly. Hope you have a lovely day!

  2. Poor Xena - so sad that even toys trigger her fearfulness. But we know that wrapping up in a quilt is a good thing - of course it feels good to her! Your day at the film festival sounds fun! I love that you're publishing the house quilt - those are really appealing to me. Maybe I will need to make it!

  3. your post is powerful... had to read it to dh
    poor little pup, poor any of us with debillitating allergies that are hard to avoid
    lovely little bag
    neighbors.... all the ones around us are a true selfish pain in the patoot, we hoped to fit in here....
    thank you for contributing your likes and trials and achievements and making lemonade with your view of a lake
    Love, Leeanna

  4. Poor Xena! We also have a fearful dog. There are no easy solutions.

  5. Poor Xena, I really feel for her. Ooh, Love that last mural & your house blocks. I'll email soon, when we get back from seeing the kids. Take care & hugs.

  6. Poor Xena, I hope that at some point she settles into the dog she should have been able to be.

  7. So sorry Xena continue to have are such good doggie parents to her. I love this new pattern I am seeing. I am enjoying a new kindle and so grateful for the technology. I am keeping a list on Amazon and will add your recent recommendations!

  8. Hi Sandra! What a wonderful post. SO many good take-aways but those quotes. Oh, how they touch me deeply in my soul. A trilogy I will be looking for right now - before I forget the author's name. The Roomba - we have a similar one that we call Arthur (Batman's butler). I am so thankful for him every time I do some zone cleaning. He even goes underneath the beds and the couch. He deserves a bonus so he's getting new bristles, etc. That glass bottle is beautiful - simple yet worthy of sharing its joy. And Xena girl - what's going on? It might be a touch of SAD? Animals are sensitive to less light, too. She looks so sweet all cuddled in that quilt. I'm certain the scent is calming, too - it's like a big 'ole {{hug}} from your husband. ~sigh~ I am patient. I can wait. Soon. I will be making a purchase whatever I see your post sharing Rainbow Neighbourhood. I long to be your neighbour - it would be too cool. Yoga, quilting, THE LAKE, B . . . yeah, it's probably best I'm not. {{Hugs}} a bunch! ~smile~ Roseanne