Monday, November 29, 2010

satisfying monday

For the first time in several weeks, I awakened this morning with some energy. The antibiotics that I started about 6 days ago are working. I mixed up a Christmas molasses cranberry steamed pudding. I want to have everything done before Christmas day for the perhaps 15 to 20 family members who may be eating here. The cranberries were starting to go soft, so I then made a quick batch of cranberry oatmeal muffins.

A friend gave me this simple recipe:

2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup molasses
pinch of salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cranberries, dusted with flour

Combine the baking soda, molasses, and salt. Pour in the boiling water and mix. Add the flour and baking powder. Gently fold in the cranberries. Put in greased tins and steam for 50 minutes to 2 hours. You cover the tins with foil but you can take it off to check with a bamboo skewer. I used 2 - 540 ml cans and it took 50 minutes. This is a little lighter than the usual pudding with all the candied fruit. It can be served with any sauce. It calls for a butterscotch sauce.
It was such a beautiful day today that I went for a walk down my favorite trail after lunch. I took my little bag of seeds to hand feed the birds. That is such balm to my soul. The chickadees landed today but I couldn't entice the nuthatch. There was a thin blanket of snow all through the woods, and the sun was sparkling through the branches.
Here is a picture of my new shelves that my husband put up next to my kitchen sink. I will decorate with some snowmen maybe this week. The green is really a nice soft green, not as bright as it appears on my screen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

some snippets

I will probably have some access to my computer over the next few days, but maybe not my sewing machine. We will be clearing out my room tomorrow to prepare it for some new flooring. I have purchased a floating floor in a rustic finish which I hope will stand up to some wear and tear as I wheel around my room from computer to sewing machine to cutting table. This is one of the last rooms in my house to have the flooring replaced and it's pretty bad. Here you can see a a piece of the new flooring and the old gray carpet underneath.

Today, I needed to start  tidying up to get ready to move furniture. Before I did that though, I free motion stitched some confetti leaves made from rotary cut snippets of fabric sandwiched between 2 layers of Saran Cling Wrap Plus. Later the Saran will be ironed between sheets of paper to melt it and I will be left with the leaves to use on my wall hanging.

Then I finished that last 7 squares for the zigzag quilt. They will all need to be trimmed. It will give me something to do while I cannot use the sewing machine. I am moving my cabinet temporarily into my bedroom, so I could use it if I'm desperate. How long can a person go without?

Friday, November 26, 2010

put together wall hanging

I finished putting together my wall hanging. I kept wanting to add another bit of turquoise somewhere but it just didn't seem to fit. I will have to use it in the embellishing. Now can begin the fun part of embellishing. I have some ideas for confetti leaves, and perhaps a moth for starters. There will be free motion quilting and hand embroidery eventually so this will be an ongoing project.

 I am in Christmas gift mode at the moment. Here is my current (I have about 3 on going) knitting project. It is a shawl that is meant to be sewn together into mobius curve when it's finished.
Since I'm not working this year, I'm trying to keep my expenses down. Instead of buying a wreath for my front door, I decided to recycle some old bits. This is what I came up with. The birds I did purchase for a few dollars each. It's fairly simple, but that 's me.

After I made it though I came across a wreath here that I really liked and which I have all the supplies for except the foam base. I don't remember the page, and there are a lot; you might like to browse for Christmas ideas. There was one done in white with strips of music and bits of lace. It was so pretty that I just might try it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

finishing touches and visiting the doctor

Yesterday, I sat down and put the finishing touches on 3 pillows. They all needed velcro added to the closing and a line of top stitching around the outside. It feels good to finish up the little things.
I have my wall hanging together except for the outside borders. I'm anxious to get those on, maybe later today so I can set it aside for when I'm in the mood for adding embellishments. I have lots of ideas and will probably work on it over the next few months.
Last night, I put these blocks sewn from pieces left over from another quilt up on the design wall. Originally, I thought to do it as a trip around the world but now I'm not sure. I need to sew 7 more squares. I will also border it but it will not be a large quilt. The blocks are 7 inches square.
This morning I'm going to see either a doctor or the dentist. I seem to have something going on in my mouth since my dental work. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but I've not been feeling well and have also had skin rashes. I've had to increase my cortisone and due to my immune system problems, I've got to go get checked as things seem to be getting worse. I have an appointment at the dentist near noon, but I think I will head out and stop at the walk in clinic if it's not too busy to see what  the doctor says. I had hoped to stay in on this damp snowy day. Perhaps, this afternoon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

my son is visiting.

My eldest son is visiting from Nova Scotia for a couple day,s so I have not been sewing much. I did go to  a guild UFO day yesterday before he arrived where I finished up a couple pillows I was making and showed my blocks for my wall hanging. I took a little time today to put some of it together. There are still a couple of changes to be made and another piece to put in, but it is getting closer. I plan to add 2 more narrow strips of pink, and I will put a narrow border of the turquoise before adding the green to the final border. Also, there will be a narrow strip of green added between the blocks on the left. Once it's all together I will be embellishing with textural fibers, embroidery and I'm thinking of painting a Luna moth on fabric and adding that. I can work on these pieces for months sometimes.

My son has a cold so my husband Gord and I went for a walk by ourselves this morning. It was -6 Celsius. we had a few centimeters of our first snow yesterday. The trail that we walk on has some stations for bird seed that have been built along the way and the chickadees and nuthatches will eat form your hands. I always walk with a bag of seed in my pockets and often stop to feed them.

I hope Jesse will feel better tomorrow. I may take him to the salt water pool and sauna before we go to lunch at our favorite cafe.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I'm off for a day of appointments, lunch and errands. I'm pondering this wall hanging trying to figure out the next step. I may need to add some strips in between to account for different size blocks. Which color is best I wonder. I'm leaning toward the mossy green with dots, but then I have the one block with the turquoise. Do i change its turquoise border? I will play some more as I'm thinking that I could change just 2 of the mossy green strips on the fist example below to turquoise and add a 1 inch border of the turquoise as an accent before I add the mossy green final border.
The second example with the turquoise running together doesn't work for me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a good day

I was finally feeling a little creative today. My energy has been so low that  it's been a while. I started by pulling out 2 projects that were tucked away in the closet. The first one is a large block trip around the world made from some triangles leftover from another quilt. I needed a few more, so I cut those.

Last week while watching the show Best Recipes, I saw a recipe for egg rolls that are actually baked instead of fried. Since I've been watching my fat intake, I was inspired. Then because I  will have 3 vegetarians here at Christmas time, I further decided to make them vegetarian. For the filling I researched a bit more for some filling ideas. I bought a package of coleslaw mix to which I added a grated carrot, sliced pea pods, onion, garlic, and 1 can of chopped water chestnuts. I used the same wet ingredients from Best Recipes added at the end. I've only managed to resist trying one because I didn't make the plum sauce and don't have any in the  house either. I think I'd like to make another batch with the pork filling recipe from the show.

This evening Gord and I are going to a turkey dinner at a church downtown, so I've had the afternoon to spend in my sewing room. I started playing with these blocks that I  gelatin mono printed last summer. A couple had a border already and I had done a little thread painting on most of them. This process  can take me a lot longer than putting traditional blocks together. I arrange it one way, then another way. I take one border off add another. Re-arrange again. I am starting to get the feel of where I'm going with it, but I'm not sure if I want to put my border fabric in between blocks or not. I will cut more and audition it. That is the hardest part for me--making up my mind. I think I must let it rest for today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

spa day

I'm feeling as though I've not been the most inspiring or inspired of late, especially on my blog. It is partly due to the fact that I am working quietly away on some Christmas gifts which I cannot show since it is mostly family and friends who view my blog. This is why I've been taking pictures of other people's quilts when I can. Here is one that I took yesterday at my friend Susan's where I spent the day. It is made of a scrappy assortment of Christmas flannels. She plans to sew one more border on of a red print.

Today, I finally got back to the Auberge (it's been almost 2 weeks) for my swim and sauna. I forgot how good it felt. The pool has salt water and is pleasantly warm. I do some lengths, relax in  the sauna, and finally go in the whirlpool. It feels just as good as a massage by the time I'm done. I had a couple of errands and then this afternoon I tried to finish my 2 cushions. This is what is so frustrating about living in a place where the nearest fabric store is 1/2 hour away. I know for big city dwellers it doesn't sound like much but I try to do the trip when I have a list. So, I needed muslin for the back of the pillows and thought I'd be smart and use up an old flannel blanket. Even with spray paste and pinning I still managed to get some tucks in the back while free motion quilting. Oh well, I didn't rip it out. No one will see it. I managed to finish  quilting one, but I ran out of brown thread on the free motion quilting and cannot finish without it. I finished the first pillow anyway and will have to wait for the thread for the 2nd one..

Sunday, November 14, 2010

finally a nice weekend

Yesterday, since it was so warm, Gord and I spent the day doing yard work. We raked leaves, tied up bushes, cut  back perennials, and even put up Christmas lights. I always wait until December but it sure was nice to take my time to nicely arrange the strands on the bushes instead of my usual rush to do it in the cold of December. We won't be turning them on yet though.
The temperature today was colder, but it was sunny and a nice day for a walk. We chose a mountain bike and cross country trail system that is only a few minutes from our house. I walk with poles which I must recommend for anyone with vertigo or bad knees or hips. They really help as well to give some exercise to the upper body, and thus they also help keep my hands from swelling which happens to me if I don't use them. One trail circles the pond pictured below. It  is part of our city's reservoir system. Can you see the thin film of ice beginning to form on the surface? It seems early.

 I do like winter but I'm not ready yet. I've been lost in a fog somewhere as it seems fall just got started. The leaves are almost all off the trees now. I love the softer grays and beige that paint the trees now that the leaves are gone, and it is fun to see all the bird nests revealed.

The only thing I'm sewing at the moment is these 2 wonky Courthouse Step blocks that I made with Daisy Jane fabrics that I ordered last spring. I think I will make 2 pillows for my sofa. I need to square them up,  back them and free motion quilt them first.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hand work day and drawing class

Yesterday, I spent a lovely day hand sewing and chatting at a friend's house. It is nice to spend time with friends, especially when it's a miserable day outside. I came home feeling all relaxed. As usual, I can't show what I was doing, but I took a couple of photos of some work by my friend, Anne.. Last summer, while visiting with friends at the cottage we sat around and put together color packs from a stash of fabrics. That is so much fun! Here is the result of one such grouping in string blocks. My friend, Anne did them in preparation for a quilt as you go workshop.

Anne also did these pennies in the little mat. The color is a little brighter than what my picture shows. she does like her purples and fuchsias.

There are a lot of 'pennies' around right now as there was just a workshop through our guild. I wasn't really interested at first, but when I dropped in and saw all the bins filled with all the colorful pennies it kind of grabbed me. I'm not really big on country design or colors; however, there were some really bright colors too. I started to think of lots of ideas for using the pennies in different ways. I'm doing a few for fun to add to the front of a needle case.
This morning I had 2 friends in for drawing lessons. We worked today on design and composition with a small still life. Every session is started with some warm up sketches. You can see 2 examples here (1 done by each person) of blind and modified contours.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

friends sewing day

I was up early with stuffy sinuses this morning. It's been going on for  a while, and I've been really achy all over. This is a sign to me that something is going on. It's possible that I've developed an infection, so I've upped my cortisone a bit. Also, I researched some on the net yesterday about antibiotics and recurring sinus infections which is why I've decided to try some natural remedies. I'm breathing in steam infused with garlic, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oils, and rinsing with the Neti Pot (which I highly recommend).
 I've just started a spinach, leek and potato soup for supper which we will eat with guacamole and baked scoops after our yoga class to-night. Now that I've got supper underway, I can get at the rest of the day.
I've got my bag packed for a sewing day at a friends house. We have these every once and a while. sometimes we bring sewing machines, sometimes hand sewing. A few of the women jsut took a workshop on penny rugs so I expect to see lots of pennies today. I'm taking a hand project that I'm working o for a Christmas present, so again no pictures.
Here is a photo of one of the quilts that I photographed while at the guild UFO day Saturday. It's a 'quilt as you go' quilt which I'm not sure I would have the patience to do, but it does save the need to have it machine quilted in the end. Isn't it pretty?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

guild UFO day yesterday

I forgot until a friend reminded me that it was a UFO day yesterday at our local civic center. I always enjoy spending at least part of may day there. Usually, I pack a lunch, as sitting down to chat with group at lunch time is fun.  I went around 11 AM, as I had a couple of errands to do. Also, I didn't bring my sewing machine since I didn't really have anything ready to work on. What I did get finished  though, was the hand sewing on the binding for this baby quilt. It's a pattern that I made up, although something similar could be out there. I call it the H quilt or the fence rail. I can now call it done and put it away until a baby gift is needed.

I haven't had much that I can show on the blog because I've been working on a lot of Christmas presents. It would be nice to keep them as surprises. I thought I'd be smart and take a couple of pictures of quilts by the ladies at the UFO day. I remembered the camera, took the pictures, but then left without the camera. A friend now has it.
I'm wondering if these scarves are popular elsewhere. I'm on my 3rd one.

The yarn is an acrylic yarn called Ondas by Katia and you can see in this picture how it's constructed. You just pick up 9 loops and start knitting, leaving about an inch between each stitch. That makes the ruffles.

They knit up very quickly and are a little different. I'm doing one for me because although I can where wool socks, I can't where wool around my neck.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

detail day

As some you will know if you follow my blog, I tend to work quite slowly, but when it comes to putting the final touches on all my little projects, that can take even longer. After my drawing time with my friends was over today, I had a little lunch time visit with one friend. We've been too busy to connect much lately, so it was nice.
Then I decided that I needed to take some time to put the finishing bits onto some little hangings. The first thing I did was to put a label on the back of one, so I could then add it to the finished pile. Then I chose and cut bindings for these 2 little bits. They're about 5 by 8 inches each.

Yesterday was a good day too. I had to go downtown for a haircut and I often make a list and combine my other errands to do at the same time. I visited the library and took a walk along the waterfront. I've been wanting to take pictures of what's left of this old wharf. Someday I  might do something with it.
Finally, I sent off pictures of these for another project that I'm working on. I can only show parts.

It must have been the sunshine today, because I  made chocolate chip cookies (inspired also by a friend who made them earlier this week).