Thursday, December 29, 2022

Gratitude #70

Welcome to my last gratitude post for 2022. There is a group of us who write these posts, and you can find us at  the host LeeAnna's blog Not Afraid of Color.

I am grateful for this incredible sunset on December 28, not photoshopped or filtered. Note the 'on-fire' orange in the bottom centre just to the right of the huge cedar (or possibly Nootka cypress). These skies were visible to the east, the south and the west of me (I have windows in my sewing room in all three of those directions). Just phenomenal. I'm grateful for another year on this beautiful blue/green rock!

This volunteer job is the best! This gentleman, or should I write, gentle man, naps with cats in his local shelter.

This reel about Smart Glasses made me cry. Good tears. This restores my faith in humanity, when technology is used for so much good. These glasses use AI so that deaf or hard-of-hearing people can see conversations in real time. It's like subtitles in films. I found this Reuters News piece about them, well worth a watch. Seeing the reactions of the people who put on the glasses, like the first deaf contestant on Love Island, and are able to 'hear' by seeing the conversation scroll in front of their eyes is... well, it'll choke you up I know it. That's another 'like': a deaf contestant on Love Island. It's getting better and better for all people to be able to 'see' themselves in TV shows.

I love books. This year I will have read 46, maybe 46.5! I am 2/3 of the way through The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, and really enjoying it, though the subject matter is difficult to read about: WWII during the German occupation of Poland. My favourite reads for December were The Maid by Nita Prose (reminded me a bit of The Rosie Project and Adrian Mole) and The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Octopuses are incredible, just incredible. I learned so much, and hope to one day go to the New England Aquarium; I feel like I know it quite well already.

I'm not a big TV watcher, but I am really enjoying Sarah Off the Grid. Both MacGyver and I really like Sarah Richardson. Seeing her build her forever home in Central Ontario is such a treat. MacGyver's enjoying all the off-grid stuff, and critiquing as we go, of course. They were building in 2016 I would presume since the first season is 2017, so six years has seen a huge leap in improvements in solar and wind power. A feel-good Christmas movie was The Holiday Sitter, which starred two gay leads. What I also like was that the Hallmark Channel didn't do a bunch of hype about it; it just is. And yes it helps to make up for their faux pas in 2019… One of the leads is from Canada, as is much of the cast, and the film was filmed in Vancouver. We've been watching Criminal on Netflix, and it's excellent, really different. Watch them in order recommended: UK, France, Spain and Germany. We're about to start Spain, but Sarah has bumped it aside for now!

I love getting photos from friends and customers who make stuff using my patterns or let me know what they've made with winnings.
Deb sent me these photos of what she made with her fabric win, 'Winter Jewels' by Amanda Murphy for Benartex Designer Fabrics, from my Pop Star QAL.
Aren't they pretty? She made these placemats as Christmas gifts, a By Annie pattern.

Betsy in NC made my house block, a block pattern I have in my Etsy shop.

She and a group of friends are going to be making Rainbow Neighbourhood beginning in 2023. I am so excited about this, the first time anyone has contacted me about making one of my designs as a group project, and wow, being so fair and honest about each having a copy of the pattern and how to go about it! You can bet the group will be getting a sweet discount, thanks to advice from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.

I am very grateful that I live so close to a national park, Point Pelee, to be exact. We visited it on December 21, the solstice. I purposely wanted to walk in that peaceful place that I have always felt a profound connection to from the first time MacGyver took me there, on our honeymoon in 1980. It was a beautiful day, and I got some lovely videos of the calm waters (that day) of Lake Erie which you can see on my Instagram.

Three days later we got hit with the horrific winter storm that even today is still wreaking havoc in poor Buffalo who, along with Fort Erie on the Canadian side, got hit especially hard. We lost power for eight hours, and our inside temperature dipped to 14C, brrr. Lots of people in Quebec were without power for more than two days, so I cannot imagine the damage that would do to a home. In Port Stanley, about two hours north of me on Lake Erie, tourists have been flocking there to see the otherworldly ice sculptures Mother Nature and Lake Erie made.

That photo is from this CBC article, where you can see several more, and also get the perspective of how huge some of these are! I love the awesomeness of Mother Nature, terrifying as she can be. Lake Erie looks much like this at the foot of my street, minus the pier and sculptures, but with the chunks of grey ice probably a half kilometre wide along the shore.

I like these pillowcases I made with more vintage fabric in my stash.
Why has this beautiful fabric, 'Peaceful Journey' by Gerry Kimmel-Carr for Benartex, sat there for more than a decade? I originally bought it to make pillowcases using the border print, but then I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how to do it since the border was along both edges, and  I wouldn’t get a nice 4 inch double folded lower edge. In the end I went with an inch double fold and it looks just fine! I now have two metres of the second border left...not sure what I'll do with it but it's not going back into the cupboard. Give it away? Part of a quilt back?

I am grateful for a healthy stash, for having had the ability and opportunity to purchase lots of beautiful fabric when I was teaching full-time. So, while pulling fabric in the Christmas theme for the bench pillow included in Rainbow Neighbourhood, I've pulled another stack of vintage fabric from about the same era, and have started designing a simple quilt. Sometimes, no, a lot of the time, I overthink things and get stalled. So this is a basic row quilt. The border print is just fabulous so why stress about how to chop it up?

I’m making the Ohio Stars that are on Santa’s, (or is it King Wenceslas’?) coat in the same colours. 

After I posted that on Instagram, I went back, with fresh eyes, and it occurred to me that the rectangular spaces were bugging me because they were too big; what if I did four stars in each row?


I am grateful for the fur kids in our life, and for a daughter, Dayna, who loves to buy clothes for animals, hers and ours. They all got pyjamas this year from her. Harper, Dayna's black and white beautiful cat, and Bella got matching pjs. Rufus got pjs and a few accessories!

I am grateful for my family: two beautiful, thoughtful daughters, an incredible human of a grandson, all three of whom  I am so proud, and a talented, caring husband who I adore (mostly, ha) and who adores me, (mostly, ha!) I treasure our times together, whether it's in person, texting, or FaceTime.

I am grateful to all of you for reading these posts, for your comments, your support, whether it be by sending me squirrel pics/videos or interesting books or tidbits to read, or purchasing a pattern. Here's to another trip around the sun in 2023!


  1. Such a fun post! I love the animal pjs and accessories, too cute. Hope you stay warm and have lots of stitching time to play with your new project. Have a very happy New Year.

  2. The Christmas row quilt is going to be lovely, Sandra (the deep blue background absolutely won me right over)! The ice sculptures are amazing and I will be next off to read the CBC article for more details. I'm glad your power wasn't off for any longer! There is so much goodness in your post I can't really comment on it all, but I have to say that the matching animal clothes are amazing. All the best to you and your family in 2023!

  3. I remember those ice sculptures from my winter in Point Edward. I have some pictures.
    If you haven't seen it yet, check Happiest Season on CBC Gem. It has some great actors, including Victor Garber and Dan Levy.

  4. The sculptures. aliens, they are all stunning, and no wonder people come from a long way to take photos. Gratitude, down here I, too, have so much to be thankful for, and my blog friends are included in the long list. So thankful you are safe from the storm, how did the family fare further west ? Happy New Year Sandra, to you and all at your home, including the ones in jamas.XXX

  5. Your gratitude posts are always so enjoyable, Sandra! I love your views of the lake - I would find that to be a special place, too. I really enjoyed The Forest of Vanishing Stars, also, even though there was lots of hard content in it. Like so many things in history, I feel like we need to know about these events. Cute photos of the animals in their jammies and I love those pillow cases, too! Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2023!

  6. Another lovely gratitude post & I enjoy these and your monthly squirrels too. We did wonder how you were faring through the storms, but I just didn't get into gear to email, so glad to hear that you are OK. The pets look all toasty & warm for too, I hope. Thanks for sharing, have a great 2023, take care & hugs from down under.

  7. Sandra - I am joining from I Like Thursday this week! We had bitterly cold temperatures in Montana, but did not get the quantity of snow seen in other parts of the country. That picture of the pier with the ice is shocking, scary and beautiful all at the same time. We had cats for many years; I cannot imagine trying to put pj's on them!!! Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  8. Thank you for this gratitude post! I haven’t read The Forest of Vanishing Stars, but now it’s on my to-be-read list! Thanks for sharing the ice sculpture article! Even my guys were amazed! Wishing you and MacGyver a Happy and most Prosperous New Year!

  9. So happy to know you are safe and well, Sandra. That storm really was awful for people back east. I am grateful we were able to stay warm and dry. Your list of gratitudes are so positive and the pictures you include are wonderful. I love that Christmas quilt you are making. I have a Christmas row quilt on my bed and love it. Wishing you and yours a very happy and health new year.

  10. Hi Sandra! Wonderful post, those smart glasses are incredible, my grandmother and all of her 13 brothers and sisters were deaf - so glad someone had the presence of mind to use technology in such a gratifying way. Mom and I watched that same sunset out the front window - it was incredible from the west, the south and right round to the east glorious pinks. Both your border fabrics are lovely, the softness of the pillow cases and the beautiful red and blue quilt you are designing, wonderful depictions of Santa.
    Like you we are close to the water, but south coast of Ontario, so we didn't get the worst of the storm. Glad you only lost power for 8 hours. And the pictures at Port Stanley Pier are stunning (and frightening and creepy). I can't believe how mild it has gotten again. And I can't sleep if I don't read first - clears my mind. I just read 2 books by Kate Quinn - Diamond Eye is a female Russian Sniper in WW2 and The Rose Code is females working in Bletchly Park with the Enigma machines in WW2 - both historical fiction. I worked just around the corner from Bletchly Park, and drove by the signs to the Museum every morning in London. Sounds like we have similar tastes. As for fur babies in clothes - Freya would disown me!
    Happy New Year - all the very best to you and yours.

  11. OMG I stopped at New England Aquarium.....please come! I would love to spend a day with you or more. Anyway, so many great loves....also those fabulous. I have a friend who has a cochlear implant and it is so hard for her to hear some of the time, that I can't imagine the excitement for a deaf person. I thought that masking was so tough for them, until some of the clear ones came out. Blessings to you. Mother nature was wild on our island in Maine. We weren't here but saw some videos....that ice is incredible!