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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fun week :)

Well my Rose of Sharon bushes are in full bloom and it is so nice to sit outside and enjoy the view. Soon it will be time to find someone to trim them back to a reasonable size, but not yet! I had a cleaner in this week to help me prep for "the ladies". First time for me and I must say I was very very happy with the experience. Who needs to do housework when you can get someone else to do it, YEAH! She did a great job and I'll have her back for sure.
It left me time for the prep work for our luncheon. I made cucumber sandwiches, a first for me, deviled eggs, pineapple cheese and pear and apple cheese, and of course a plate of goodies, hello dollies and chocolate macaroons with a bowl of cherries in the middle. I served it all on my Great Aunt's Limoges china - it's a service for 12! Mother would be proud.
It's birthday week (not telling you how old I am, but I'm not yet a senior!), so the family gathered at my sister's place for hamburgers and cake - and oh what a cake! Yummmmmy!! My sister, her DH, daughter, grandkids and s-i-l are all off to a cottage for the next week. Lucky them. Here's William in his backyard playpen (aka plastic pool). He's not too sure who I am ....
And here's Claire with her new glasses - purple and pink - of course to match all her princess dresses!
Tonight I'm off to see Lady Macbeth with some friends, so that should end the week. I'll be ready for a rest on Sunday.
Earlier in August my sister & her hubby went up to Manitoulin Island for a Boyter reunion. I sent up the Lighthouse quilt I had made years ago for mother. I used a Piecemaker's calendar pattern for the quilt and embroidered in silver thread the names of our family Manitoulin lighthouse keepers, their lighthouses and their dates in the red inner border. In the outer blue border I quilted fish, since my great grandfather Albert Boyter fished out of Little Current on a 3 masted schooner - least that's the family story. I had lots of fun with this quilt, all hand appliqued, hand embroidered and hand quilted with lots of  button embellishments. I wanted someone in the family who felt connected to the Boyters and/or Manitoulin Island to have the quilt. Well, my cousin Tom Boyter, he who arranged the reunion, took the quilt and it has finally been hung, something mother never got done. Tom was close to mom and thought of her as a second mother so this quilt has found a great home. Here's a pic!

TTFN

Sunday, August 06, 2017

It Didn't :(

Well, it was totally disappointing, the three Orchid buds dropped off - one by one. :( :(. Guess I don't have as green a thumb as I thought. Anyone out there have any suggestions for next time - if there are any fresh Orchid buds? It's been quite a couple of weeks. I managed to wreck the screen of my 10 yr old laptop, thus leaving me with a 1/3 flickering screen display. Most annoying. Now I have a new laptop, Windows 10, and a new keyboard, so bear with me if you see any typos while I become accustomed to the new keyboard.
I've been busy cleaning/downsizing which for me involves going through all my drawers, cupboards and closets and making decisions to keep, donate or sell. Fun and exhausting at the same time. Yesterday I went through the linen closet, filled with my and inherited or collected linens. I discovered so many doilies, tea cloths and cutwork/lace table cloths. Too many to keep, not all in the best of shape. I also discovered the new sheers I bought (years ago) for the dining room. Just in time as one of the old ones has a tear which can not be disguised. So I got busy and made a rod pocket, got them hung up only to discover they are 1/2" too long !!! Darn it! They will have to do until later this month when I can re-sew the rod pocket.
I've made 4 trips to the Goodwill since my downsizing began and have quite a collection of antiques/collectibles put aside I hope to sell off. All this has kept me from my normal house cleaning, so 3 weeks ago I researched online then called and booked a cleaner for Aug. This past week I called 3 times and sent 2 emails attempting to confirm the appointment only to finally receive a message saying I don't have a booking with them ! REALLY! YIKES ! I have a dozen ladies coming over for afternoon tea next week ! Well,  Julie from Daytime Domestics fixed me up and I have a cleaner coming next week.  YEAH. Should be interesting as this is my first time having cleaners.
I have also been busy attempting to catch up to my Canada 150 Quilt-Along ladies.  Since I only print out the instruction page I am not attempting to match fabrics to the woman featured for that block, just using what I think will look good. Each block is red and white, with a variety of reds. I have decided to be liberal in my choice of whites, and am including red & whites, creams, and lots of script fabrics.  I'm rather glad I started this project, even if I am waaaaay behind as it is re-teaching me the basics of block construction, and I am re-learning accuracy. I'm up to block 37 now, which puts me at week 12.  Those who were able to keep up from the start  are on block 110 ! so I have a long way to go yet :(. I also finished off three more bibs and one more key wristlet for our group's charity sewing. Look out - I'm on a roll!!
Of course also last week was the annual anniversary sale at our local quilt store. All was going great and I was picking up many fabulous fat quarters and was able to use more of the gift certificate I got at work for my retirement. Just as I was about to leave I saw the perfect backing fabric for one of the 7 vintage quilt tops I "found" in my blanket box ! Too bad the staff person @ the store had to make a scene because I asked how much I should buy for a double bed size backing - a reasonably normal question at a quilt store and one she should be prepare to answer. Some people :(. Luckily the store owner had more couth, provided the answer I sought and in the end I got 10+ fat quarters and a new backing all of which cost me less than $5.00 !! Not bad .
I have not forgotten my Lucy Boston but have no pic to share as I am back into prepping hexies for the in-between joiner blocks. Not exciting.
TTFN



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Will it or Won't it ?

So my purple orchid given to me as a retirement gift  has decided to bud - whoppee! The question is will the buds ever open? These buds are large and have been there for over 2 weeks now. When will I get flowers ? I put it into the sun and have given it a wee bit of water. Not sure what else I can do to encourage these buds to flower.  Any advice ??
Speaking of flowers I harvested a wee posy from my Lavender plant. Had I known a super humid hot spell was coming which would burn up everything I would have harvested all the Lavender flowers!
Life has calmed down a wee bit this week and I have finally - yes FINALLY got into my sewing room and back to my Facebook Canada 150 quilt-along.  Now that the sewing room is cleaned out (almost) I feel more comfortable in that room. I've been housecleaning and downsizing for several weeks now. What was once 2 overflowing book shelves full of quilt books, 2 shelves of binders full of paper patterns from the internet, and another 2 shelves with magazines, I am proud to say is now 1/2 shelf of books, 1 shelf of magazines and paper patterns from the internet. MUCH more reasonable for my lifetime ;).  So, I have been working on catching up with my fellow quilt-along ladies and have sewn 3 blocks a day. We get 3 blocks a week since January and the group is now at Block 108. I am proud to say I am now up to block 22. Yippee! BUT long way to go ! Wish me luck ;)
A long way yet to go with the downsizing/housecleaning, but I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment having sent out 3 bags of shredded paper, 3 bags of non shredded paper for recycling and 3 boxes to the Goodwill just last week. Wish me luck again !
TTFN



Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day !!

Happy150th Canada Day !!
This wall hanging was done in 2008 for a guild challenge and has served me well since then. It only comes out for the Canada Day week as I don't want it to fade. I love the Mountie with her horse!

I have finally arrived in the sewing room and along with digging up lots of "I'm going to use that someday" stuff (now to go to the Goodwill - with lots more to find yet!) I have started sewing again. YEAH ! But have I re-started my Canada 150 Facebook quilt-along ? Noooo, and I'm 93 blocks behind ! YIKES ! No, I did some mending for my niece and my sister and did some sewing for Wellspring, my sewing group's charity. Wellspring is a cancer charity, and they have a craft booth which helps support them. We make all kinds of fabric items and I was once again asked to co-ordinate our group's donations to their booth.
So, I made this lunch bag. I used a cupcake  version of it when I was still at work and really appreciated it. The lunch bag is roomier than it looks and I'm happy to have finally made use of this terrific cutlery fabric. I have another one cut out and may get to it today. The pattern tutorial is from Pink Penquin and is well written. This pattern would also make a fabulous sewing bag - with different fabrics of course ;).
I saw this fabulous fat quarter at the local FL store and just had to make this bib for my grand nephew William. I thought it was more "manly" than the owl bibs I made for his sister which my niece is now using for him ;) Also, it kinda goes along with his theme of Foxes - and other wild life! Purchased 2 FQs so I can make a second one for William.
TTFN,
            HAPPY CANADA DAY
(Love this image - sorry, don't know it's origin/creator)



Thursday, June 22, 2017

This and That

So I now totally understand retired people who always told me they don't know how they found the time to work!  I used to worry that when I retired I would be bored - too much time on my hands. HA !
Here's my busy story  .... I decided to take advantage of the flyer that came in the mail and have my furnace and AC unit checked having never done it since I moved in.  Well, the technician was a woman (nice to see - yeah ladies) and after some checks of this and that she red tagged my furnace and shut off the gas!! It was leaking carbon monoxide!! Now I don't quite understand why I hadn't noticed this before, after all I spent 3 months sleeping on the couch in the living room (that much closer to the furnace), and I do have a CO1 detector (upstairs). Anyway, long story short I now have a new furnace.  I decided to also have the water heater replaced since they were of the same appliance age. So all this also involved tearing apart the front hallway, the stairs going down and my carefully crafted storage of this and that behind the furnace. OF COURSE this led to a cleanup of the basement  = two truckloads to the dump (THANKS Vince and Mark!) and a carload to the Goodwill. I also managed to get 2 bags of paper shredded and out of the house :). Wonderful start on my downsizing/cleanup, unfortunately not the end .... 
While the hallway was uprooted I also re-hung my quilted wall hangings on the rod I specifically purchased for them, which also involved filling all holes in the wall and finding the hallway paint  to cover up the old holes.  Although I used my level it still looks like the rod is not even - Grrrrr!  House not totally back to normal yet but feeling like I've accomplished a few things - YEAH!

In case all this  kerfuffle wasn't enough  the government is offering a $1900 rebate for new energy efficient furnaces but in order to get it you have to be inspected .... once before the new furnace goes in and once afterwards in order to get the rebate!  So 1st inspection done, had to get some spray foam to close up a couple of air leaks. 2nd inspection set up for early July, but wait - not done yet ....  I also got called for a spot inspection by ESA so now I have that to contend with also !
Sad to say there was another family funeral this week. Here I am with my sister and three of our cousins at the luncheon afterwards. Must be that time of life as it seems my family is dropping like flies  as we lose the older generation! :(
TTFN

Monday, May 29, 2017

Gremlins

I have a Gremlin living at my house. Don't know where he came from - or when, but he definitely exists! I spent most of this past winter on the couch in the living room so don't know when "he" appeared., but shortly after finally going to bed in the bedroom upstairs I noticed the TV in my sewing room was on.  Hmm, who turned it on ? How long has it been on? Maybe the cat walked over the remote ? I hid the remote where she could not possibly walk on it and waited. Sure enough 2 days later the TV magically turned itself on! Hmmm. Maybe the TV timer is way off. I turned off the TV clock  and waited to see. A couple of days later the TV once again magically turned itself on. It is rather disconcerting to come home after an evening out to find your sewing room TV blasting away! So I unplugged the TV!  Last week I was in the sewing room doing a few chores (ironing) so I plugged the TV in , did my chores, turned the TV off and forgot about it. Sure enough, I came home last night to find the TV blasting away!!! Gremlins!! Actually, I think my neighbours next door must have a baby monitor which has the same wave length as my TV so when they turn on their monitor it turns on my TV as well! A more logical explanation I'm sure, but I rather like the thought of Gremlins ;)
Had the sewing ladies in for afternoon tea last week. Sure was fun to see them. Of course I used my new Strawberry Basket ordered online from North Carolina! It comes with a creamer and open sugar bowl which fit into the side pockets. You can't see from this pic, but the sides of the bowl have a basket weave pattern. LOVE IT! My friends know  I'm a sucker for China, and I've always wanted this piece ever since I first started collecting this pattern (never mind how long ago that was!)
 Of course we had Angel food cake to go with the strawberries, fancy cheeses and crackers and a grape salad (new recipe for me) and finished off with mini fruit tarts and Hello Dollies. YUMM :) Lu brought me these lovely tree Peonies. Aren't they lovely! Thanks Lu !!
On the sewing front I have finished the next to last row for Lucy Boston. Have to cut out and baste more connector beige hexies before I can finish off the last row. Once all that is done I can audition the connector blocks. Phew! this has been a long haul with more yet to come, but it is a good hand work project for the patio :)
 TTFN




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Patio Redo

Woohoo - summer is coming and it's almost time for some patio :) Now that I'm retired I'm looking forward to more than just post 5 pm/weekend patio time - yippee!
When I first moved into my condo I had a too small patio. So, I went out and purchased more (smaller) patio stones and did my best to expand my  patio. In this left pic you can see my patio table, still with its winter cover, and the division between large and small patio stones. Not only was it not aesthetically pleasing, neither side of the patio were level anymore :(.  So, since I finally have both the time and money I hired someone to come and re-lay all my patio stones into a more pleasing and level pattern - see  pic on right. Small stones are now in the centre and the larger stones outline the patio :).

Another of my projects when I first moved in was to plant some wee gardens and trees. At the time all I had available was that ugly black plastic thingee to edge my gardens.  Well, this worked for the last few years, but was also not aestheically pleasing.




 So while the man was here I had him install some garden stones around both tree gardens. Now I need to plant some ground cover/Hostas in the area under the Caragana tree which just will not grow any grass! The land around my Japanese Maple slopes away so the stones are
layered higher at the patio level and lower towards the grass. Not exactly the stones I had in mind, but I had to leave for a med appointment so this is what I got! Not 100% the way I wanted but 100% better than before! I 'm contemplating getting new patio furniture and getting rid of the table altogether. Maybe this year, maybe next, maybe not.

What else have I been up to you ask? Well, lots of hand sewing the connectors for my Lucy Boston blocks. 4 rows done, row 5 and 6 to complete. I have an idea for the cornerstone blocks but need all the rows on the design wall to see if my idea is any good. Stay tuned !!
TTFN







Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy Easter!

Ok ok, I'm a week late with that post title. Been busy (yeah!) As you can see I made a cake for Easter, and once again it was a big hit! Luckily my B-I-L saved the "eggs" from last year to decorate the cake.
 

My sister had her friend and her daughter's M-I-L over for our Easter dinner so it wasn't too weird missing both Mom and Dad - our first Easter without either of them! It was a lovely day and I managed to snap this great pic of Greg and baby William - in matching shirts!
 
I am well into recovery and made my way to my sister's without the walker! That's a big step for me. It was a lovely day and kept my mind off the week to come. Wednesday was the memorial service for the Pater. I took my walker to that as there was a lot of standing during the visitation. All the Smith cousins (ok, all the local cousins which equals most of them), the Boyters, many of my quilting friends, the step family and lots of Dad's friends and neighbours were there to pay their respects, so it was a good showing. Afterwards there were several comments on how nice the service was, so I guess we set the right tone. So now it's just the internment to get through and that's out of town and can wait a bit.
Got these lovely 2 dozen white roses from a good friend of Dad's. Luckily they are unscented. Have really enjoyed all the flowers :).
Have decided to splurge and splash out on a redo of my patio. Here's a before pic
I'm going to have all the stones lifted up and the under layer levelled out. Then the stones relaid, in a mixed pattern (small and large mixed). I'm also hoping to get rid of the big table (under the tarp) and purchase a chaise lounge, a couple of chairs and a small coffee table. More suitable for this size of patio and for my needs. Here's hoping it all comes together as I'm hoping to spend lots of my first retired summer out there!
TTFN




Sunday, April 09, 2017

Spring has Sprung !

Yahooo! Spring has sprung and my Forsythias are in bloom. I've had a lot of flowers lately which is a real nice change of pace. Being single and a bit frugal I never get flowers and never buy them for myself, but when I got sick this winter first Dad gave me a lovely planter with Daffodils, Paper Whites and Gloxinias, then my step sister sent this floral arrangement, then a friend from out west sent this bouquet both of which lasted several weeks. And finally, my step brother out west sent along a lovely single rose. I've been spoiled! Soon my garden will start to bloom outside and I hope to be outside and enjoy it!  I am so looking forward to my first "retired" spring!
Recovery from this winter's Influenza is reallllll slow :( I have been outside 3 times now, with assistance, and even did a wee bit of shopping at the pharmacy!! On the real nice days like today I am taking a short walk, but still tire way to quickly. Having lost way too much weight while ill I'm working hard to gain some back - not as easy as you might think. I know most of you have the opposite problem ;)
My sewing mojo has recovered and I have been busy adding the joiner "bits" to row one and row two of my Lucy Boston quilt! It's a great project for me right now as I can sit and hand sew and sew and sew while watching the Boob Tube.
Once these were done it was time to go up into the sewing room, still a major task for me,  and determine what to do for the in-between (joiner) blocks. I'm going to keep you guessing for a bit as I have a couple of ideas I need to test out. And of course I ran out of prepped hexies, so spent the last two days cutting and basting more. Still have more to do, not a lot of fun but it passes the time for this house bound quilter. Lets hope for a not too rainy April.
TTFN