Friday, May 30, 2008


With everything that happened around here in the last couple of months, it sure put what's important into perspective. I am so lucky to have good friends - some of whom I've never even met, but I consider them friends nonetheless.

Maybe it's an age thing, but I don't think I've ever had a period in my life when I enjoyed and appreciated my friends as much as I do now. Last night I had dinner with 3 old friends - Trudy, who I call my forever friend as we've been friends since we were 5 years old - and two other girlfriends that I've known since highschool. We've been through a lot together - the loss of another dear friend to cancer, a long ago divorce of one and a very recent divorce of another, death of parents, births of children and grandchildren, lots of good times and sometimes more than our share of bad.

I am also very lucky to have friends who I met through quilting and I feel we share a very special bond. You know who you are and I hope you know just how much you mean to me.

Time to put the Kleenex away and talk about food. We had the most delicious meal last night - pecan crusted catfish served with risotto and asparagus. We dined at The Water Street Cooker which overlooks Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful clear night and you could see right around the Golden Horseshoe from our table at the window. I say 'dined' as Marg related a story from an elderly lady who told her you can eat out anytime, but when she went out, she liked to dine! I like her attitude!

Today was spent running around taking Ben to the vet for his heartworm test and annual shots. I could rant on about the cost of that visit but I'll save that for another day. Let's just say between the vet visit and my sewing machine repair this week, I spent the best part of $500. Oh well, no cost is too high to keep my baby well.

I made it to the Passport Office and only had to wait a few minutes which was a pleasant surprise.

What took me forever was finding someone to give me change for the parking machine. The only lot near the passport office has a machine where you deposit coins only to get your ticket then display it on your windshield. Amazingly, I actually had cash on me, something I very rarely have (how could I, I gave it all to the sewing machine dealer and the Vet!) but I only had bills - no coins. I went to six grotty little stores nearby asking for change of a ten and not one of them would give it to me.

One of the stores was called "Aromatherapy" and the windows were all heavily curtained. When I walked in, I was greeted by a lady wearing nothing but a sexy bra and thong with a see-through robe over top. I have a feeling a lot more than aromatherapy went on in there.

I went into a hamburger joint and asked for change and was told no, they didn't give change. To be fair, I'm sure these stores get people in all day long looking for change and it's not their job to provide it. I resorted to going around the tables in the burger joint begging people at tables for change for a ten. I felt like a street person begging for a dime.

Downtown Hamilton certainly leaves a lot to be desired. It's time they got with the program and updated their money making machines - and they also might want to check out what goes on in that aromatherapy store!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gold Dust

I picked my sewing machine up on my way home from work tonight. It needed cleaning - $119 worth of cleaning. I didn't pay much more than that for my very first sewing machine. Since these machines are computerized, how much cleaning can possibly be required. They don't need oiled or lubricated, just cleaned. There was also an extra charge because they had to try a stitchout. How would they know if the problem was fixed if they DIDN'T do a stitchout? Once again I walk out of my dealer feeling like I have been totally ripped off. Maybe it's just me....
Nadine has a very interesting post on her blog about the build-up to the debut of the new Bernina and how their advertising sounds like a new car release. As I said to her, with the price of sewing machines nowadays, they are almost as much as a new car!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another Unproductive Day

I spent the day doing non-quilty things I've been putting off. My passport expires in June so I went and had my picture taken and picked up a renewal application. The government website shows processing is taking 4 weeks right now by mail or 2 weeks if you take it to a passport office in person. Guess I'll be making a trip to their office on Friday as I can't afford to be without my I.D. for 4 weeks - how would I live if I couldn't go to Buffalo????

Leo and I also went to Best Buy to pick up a new holder for my GPS - well, we thought that's what we were going to do. Mine came with a window mount holder and I never could get it to work - I think it was too cold when I tried to apply it and resorted to duct tape - did the trick but didn't look too nice. Leo did some investigating and found out they sell a dash mounted stand which I would prefer but when we looked at them, they didn't fit my Garmin. Leo suggested hockey tape as it's black and at least it would match my dash. That idea doesn't thrill me but I don't know what else to try - any suggestions?

Anyone else looking forward to the Sex & The City movie?

I always thought Big treated Carrie badly and I think I would have been happier if she had stayed with Aidan but what do I know. Should be a good movie if I can find another Sex & The City fan to go with.

I did get my Sunshine quilt loaded on Tillie today, but that's as far as I got. I seem to be lacking motivation lately. I'm always motivated to buy stuff, just not motivated to do anything with it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Frustration Continues

My sewing machine is all packed up and ready to go back to the dealer tomorrow - she isn't open on Mondays. I cleaned it, I vacuumed the bobbin area, I flossed the thread path - you name it, I tried it and my embroidery is still looping on the back. I just hope they fix it properly - the first time - as often they tell me it's fixed, send it home, and the problem is still there.

I should have taken the opportunity to do some quilting, but I didn't - Ben and I went to the park instead. Maybe tomorrow....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Blast From My Past

I attended my 100th Anniversary Highschool Reunion yesterday and what a great time we had. I reconnected with so many people I haven't seen for 38 years and we shared a lot of trips down memory lane.

Here I am with my three best friends from school - Linda & Susan (can you tell they are twins?) and Tony. We spent a good part of the afternoon together then a group of 24 of us had a wonderful dinner at a downtown restaurant and caught up on our lives.

It's funny the things you remember, but I'll never forget how good Tony was to me when I lost my Dad in Grade 10. He really helped me through a very difficult time and I'll always be grateful and treasure the friendship we had.

I was determined to get the label done for my Dog Cabin today but my embroidery machine had other ideas. After three attempts, I gave up and had a nap. I don't know what is wrong with it - I tried 3 different bobbins, I cleaned the bobbin area, I hooped and rehooped three different fabrics (all cotton) and this is what the back looks like:

The front isn't much better:

If anyone has any suggestions please let me know what to try.

On a completely different note, my cousin in Scotland is an amateur photographer but in my opinion his work is wonderful. Here's a picture Lorna sent me today of a blue tit which Charlie took in their back yard. Click on it to see it in all it's glorious detail!

He has some wonderful pictures on his website at if you'd like to pay him a visit.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun Friday

I spent a fun day with Sandra - she always makes me laugh and today was no exception. I picked her up from the train and we went to try on her wedding dress. It's reassuring to know that it's here, it's the right dress and it fits with only some minor alterations required. She told me that a local wedding dress store had recently gone bankrupt and those poor girls who ordered dresses and placed deposits were out of luck. Thank heavens she didn't buy her dress there!

She also brought me a gift:

How cute is that! She bought me a Pandora charm bracelet last year for my birthday and this is to add to my charm collection. I just love it!

We had a nice lunch then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. She came home with me to visit her Dad and she's on her way back to Toronto now.

She told me something else today that I didn't know and frankly, I couldn't believe it. Apparently you have to have a permit to take pictures in certain locations - Union Station being one of them. I swear if there is a way to make money, our government will find out how to do it.

The matching backing I ordered from Ebay for my sunshine quilt arrived today so I hope to get it quilted this weekend. Speaking of quilting, we also stopped at my APQS dealer today as she had ordered some batting for me that I needed to pick up. I saw the 'new' Millennium which I am supposed to get at no charge as soon as they are CSA approved. To be honest, I didn't like it as much as the one I have and my dealer feels the same way.

The changes include a built in laser, LED lighting, a black light and the on/off switch has been moved so it is more easily accessible from either side of the machine. They also changed the look of the controls. I'm now having serious doubts about whether or not I'll send Tillie back when the Canadian approval comes through. As I'm fond of saying - if it isn't broken, don't fix it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Bit of This and That

I've been back at work for the last two days which explains why I don't have much to say. I have come to the realization that the less I work, the less I want to. It really gets in the way of so many much more important things like quilting and socializing and shopping. Maybe this will be the year I finally retire.......

Tomorrow Sandra & I are going to see her wedding dress. She got a call a few weeks ago to say it had arrived, but this has been the first opportunity we've had to go and see it.

Darren & Sandra are having their engagement pictures taken this weekend at Toronto's Union Station.

She loves black & white shots and thought this would make a perfect backdrop.

My highschool reunion is this weekend and it's been so much fun getting e-mails and 'then' and 'now' pictures from everyone attending. It seems that most of the men have compensated for the sparseness of hair on their heads by growing facial hair. Now that I think about it, maybe that's not just restricted to the men......

It makes me feel ancient when I talk about graduating almost 40 years ago. I don't feel old - well - except for the arthritis, and the asthma and the carpel tunnel, and - wait - maybe I do feel old. I don't remember...........

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Year And A Half Later....

My Dog Cabin is finally quilted and bound.

If you click to enlarge it, you can see I used a panto called Puppy Playground by Heart & Soul Quilts. It has dog biscuits, balls and 'doggie' terminology on it - fetch, sit, bow wow - you get the picture.

What I didn't realize and never really thought about before, is that the writing on the back is backwards and can only be read by looking in a mirror. This really disappointed me for some reason as I didn't want the quilting to be too obvious on the front as the dogs should be the focal point, not the quilting, but I wanted it to show on the back which is why I chose white and not black thread.

If you enlarge this one, you'll see what I'm talking about. Another lesson learned. It's off to the Humane Society with this one and I won't be sorry to see it go!

We saw the surgeon today and it was 'mostly' good news. He did give us a worse case scenario which would involve further surgery but I'm not even going there right now. I'm only thinking positive thoughts.

Speaking of positive thoughts and pleasant things, I had a great time at my Stitch N Chat today. I can't tell you how much I like this group of ladies and how kind and welcoming they have all been to me. We went out for lunch after our chat session and all had a yummy chicken shawarma.

Actually, ours looked much better than this image I found.

I'm off to watch Idol which I predict will be boring as hell, but I'll watch it anyway!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ben Pens

One of the gifts Sandra gave me for Mother's Day were these "Ben Pens".

What could be cuter than a pen with a picture of my baby on it!

I got to see my boyfriend again today - what an adorable little boy he is!

He's going to have a baby brother very soon - then I'll have 2 adopted grandsons to go along with my 2 adopted grand-daughters. As Mrs. Goodneedle says, "Life is Good".

Tillie and I had some quality time today and I finally got my "Quilt from Hell" quilted. I'm hoping to get the binding sewn on tonight so stay tuned for pictures tomorrow. It quilted like a dream on Tillie - that girl never disappoints!

We see the surgeon again tomorrow and I'm hoping for nothing but good news. Leo is still doing really well and his naps are getting shorter every day. He even managed to walk to the park with Ben & I the other day - he sat on the bench and waited while we did the full circuit, then we picked him up on the way back and walked home.

Hope my fellow Canadians had a happy Victoria Day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Let The Sunshine In

The Sunshine top is finished but I don't like it as much as I thought I would. Somehow, from a distance, it has a 30s look to it, and I'm not a big fan of 30s fabric. You have no idea how long it took me to get this picture as my design wall wasn't quite big enough so I had to put it on the floor. As all of you with pets know, anything placed on the floor is an immediate invitation to be sat on and inspected.

When I was cleaning out some of my old images today, I came across this one that Joan posted on the Canadian Quilters Forum. This is a CAKE - isn't it adorable!

Then I came across this one and I can't remember where I lifted this from but it's cupcakes with the quilting design on the tops:

I could sit here for a hundred years and never come up with anything nearly that creative!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Can't Beat The Real Thing

Since Onalee received her tablerunner yesterday, I can now post a picture. I mailed this at least three weeks ago, by air, but U.S. Customs felt the need to open it and make sure I wasn't sending contraband - sometimes I think they are just nosy and have nothing better to do!

I know she likes scrappy and I also know she loves having a big kitchen table that she can put tablerunners on, so I hope she enjoys using this.

Since nothing much is happening around here, I thought I'd get on my soapbox and rant about Diet Coke/Pepsi. Diet Pepsi seems to be cornering the market around here. All the restaurants and even Tim Horton's now only carry Pepsi products. I don't like Diet Pepsi - I like Diet Coke. It infuriates me (doesn't take much, I know) when I order a Diet Coke and the waitress asks if a Diet Pepsi is O.K. - No it isn't - if I'd wanted a Diet Pepsi I would have ordered one - I want a Diet Coke!Sandra & Darren took me out for lunch last weekend for Mother's Day and both Sandra & I ordered a Diet Coke in a restaurant we know only carries Diet Pepsi. Darren asked why we both still order it when we know they don't have it. I hadn't really thought about it before, but maybe if enough people ask for what they want, they might carry Diet Coke.

Why do they only carry one or the other? Why can't Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi live in harmony in the same restaurant? I'm sure someone, somewhere is making big bucks from the exclusivity, but it doesn't make sense to me. I don't drink tea or coffee and restaurants wouldn't think of asking people to drink tea if they ordered coffee so why can't I have a choice?

Besides, Pepsi don't have cute little polar bears in their commercials.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Catching Up With The Times

I watched an episode of Fons & Porter last night and Joyce Drexler from Sulky was their guest and she was demonstrating how to make scarves using water soluble stabilizer and either thread or yarn. Since we get these shows long after they originally air in the U.S., I'm sure the show was quite old.

I was fascinated with this technique so decided I'd pay a visit to my local sewing machine dealer to see if they had the book with the instructions.

They did have it so of course I just had to buy it. While there, I asked the owner if she had heard about these scarves and she told me they had done several classes on them months ago. I swear I'm always at least a year behind the current trend. She showed me the class samples and they really were stunning.

I remember Tommy blogged about this technique way back on April 13th of last year. It's only taken me 13 months to catch up.

While I was in the sewing machine store today I remembered why I don't go in there very often. Temptation is everywhere. The projects they produce are amazing and the owner is always only too happy to show me something I just can't live without. She showed me a lot of projects they had been doing with the embellishing machine. I remember my friend Onalee looking at these in Houston almost 3 years ago. See, it takes me time to catch up. My biggest problem is there are too many things I'd love to try and just not enough hours in the day to try them all.

Maybe if I could stop buying all these things that inspire me, I would have more time to actually do something. Suzanne had a give-away about a week ago for some patterns by Iowa Star. As soon as I saw them, they appealed to me, so since I didn't win them, I placed my order. They arrived today and will probably live for the next 10 years in the drawer with the hundred other patterns I have.

This has been a VERY GOOD mail week. Yesterday I received my back issues of Unlimited Possibilities magazine. It makes me drool just looking at some of the quilting.

Unfortunately next week probably won't be such a good mail week - that's when my Mastercard bill will arrive!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Can You Stand Some Good News?

Leo came home yesterday and it's been a very happy day around here! He is SO much better and I finally feel like my husband is back. It's very hard to explain, but when he came home the last time, he just wasn't himself, even taking into account how ill he was. He's still got a ways to go, but I feel so much more confident that everything is going to be O.K.

I went back to work today for the first time in two weeks. Everyone there has been wonderful and it helped tremendously knowing that I didn't have to worry about work.

I really hope that it's nothing but good news from now on. When Leo was so sick in ICU I kept telling him he had to fight as he had a daughter to walk down the aisle this fall. Now we can look forward to that happy event.

I have a lot of blogs to catch up on and hopefully I'll have something "quilty" to show you this weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Now For Something Completely Different

Leo wanted to see how his bulbs were coming along, so I went out yesterday afternoon and took some pictures of his garden. He's always checking for bare spots - usually that means he's lost his constant battle with the squirrels and they absconded with the bulbs. The hostas have just started sprouting and soon that bare area beside the grass will be overflowing with hostas.

The daffodils are getting past their best, but are being replaced with tulip blooms.

That raised garden under the window is a mass of daffodils.

Mr. Nosy here just had to get in on the act while I was outside taking pictures.

I couldn't sleep last night so instead of doing what I usually do and waste hours on the computer, I was actually able to sew. Here is the result of my efforts.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Most of you will probably have already figured out that things aren't going as well as we'd hoped with Leo. He's been back in the hospital since Monday and they are trying to get the infection under control. His drainage tube was "accidentally" pulled out so now the concern is that all the 'stuff' is pooling inside instead of coming out. He had a CT scan on Tuesday and all they can do is wait a day or two and perform another one to see what is going on inside.

It was six weeks yesterday since this nightmare began. I don't know how people with family members who are sick for months and years deal with it. I am just about at breaking point already. I think if I knew that everything would be alright in the end, it would be easier but the constant fear is terrifying.

Needless to say, my quilting has been put on the back burner again but I am reading a book that has really held me. I'm a big fan of the Shopaholic series of books by Sophie Kinsella and I'm reading her latest called Remember Me. It's just the kind of reading I need right now - light, fluffy and no thinking required.

I watched both episodes of American Idol last night - amazing when it's taped you can watch 2 hours in about 45 minutes when you FF through all the commercials. Something isn't right with Idol this year - the final 4 are the wrong people. Jason & Syesha should have been gone and Michael and Carly should have been in the final 4. Syesha belongs on broadway and Jason should be singing folk songs somewhere. I don't even care who wins this year, as long as it's one of the Davids.

Jason did provide me with a laugh though when Simon asked him "I don't know what you were thinking" and he replied "I was thinking Bob Marley!"

Since I really hate to post without a picture, here is a picture I took on the beach in Prince Edward Island a few summers ago. Can you tell Ben loves the ocean?

Let's just say we were really glad we had a rental car and not our own - I'll bet they are still trying to get all the sand out of it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Bump In The Road

At least, I hope and pray that is all it is. Leo was back in Emergency last night as he had a fever and his blood work shows an infection. They gave him an antibiotic IV then gave me the choice of taking him home or him staying there until Monday morning when he could see his own surgeon. What a decision - of course he wanted to come home and because there is an outbreak of c difficile in the hospital, I think/hope/pray he is better off at home. Tomorrow morning can't come quickly enough so I can call his surgeon.

The stress is unbelievable - I have scheduled my nervous breakdown for sometime this week.

On a more upbeat note, Johnathan's birthday party was rescheduled to yesterday at lunch. I spent a glorious couple of hours with this adorable little boy (before Leo got sick). I can't imagine what it must be like to be a Grandma - I love him to bits and we're not even related yet. I'm not even sure what the relationship will be after Sandra & Darren get married - my daughter's nephew? Doesn't really matter anyway as I'm his Aunt Irene and he's an adorable little boy.

Here we are clowning around on the couch - I look like I have such a fake smile on my face, but it's all genuine - he made me smile the whole time I was there.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


No, it's not outside unfortunately, it's on my sewing table.

This fabric is from Moda and is called Sunshine. I loved it when I bought it over a year ago, and I love it still. There is just something about blue and yellow that speaks to me (usually what it says is 'buy me, buy me').

I bought this pattern on Saturday at my retail therapy session - Charmed and Dangerous by Anka's Treasures. It uses charm squares and I just happened to have some of those in Sunshine too, so this is what I'm planning on making.

It's another simple pattern, but I seem to be into simple these days.

There is something bothering me. Last year we paid a fleeting visit to Shipshewana and I bought (among other things) a pattern, a jelly roll and co-ordinating fabric to make the pattern. It is still sitting in the bag I bought it in, but the jelly roll is missing. I've looked through all my shelves, drawers and piles (there are more piles than I'd care to admit), but I can't find that jelly roll anywhere. The co-ordinating fabric isn't any use without the jelly roll. I am becoming convinced that it wasn't put in the bag, but since this was last July I don't think I have any recourse.

I've been saying this for quite some time now, but I really MUST get some project pouches of some kind and when I buy fabric for a specific pattern, put everything together in the same place. This wouldn't have helped with this problem, but at least I would have found out sooner if I'd done it as soon as I got home as I would have realized right away the jelly roll was missing. Now I'll have to go on a search for the fabric - it was Moda's Roman Holiday so if you know anyone with a jelly roll for sale, please let me know.