Monday, September 29, 2008

A Normal Day - Finally

Today seemed like the first day off I've had in ages and I accomplished a lot. I cleaned my china cabinet and you can't write your name in the dust anymore. I also cleaned my silverware. I'm always looking for an easier way to do this so I Googled it and came up with a couple of methods.

I tried the tinfoil in a pan with baking soda - didn't work.

I tried toothpaste - didn't work.

I resorted to good old elbow grease with a silver cleaning cloth and it is now sparkling like new - well, almost.

This isn't mine - it's just a picture I lifted from the Web as posts without pictures are so boring.

Then I spent way too much time on You Tube listening to songs for the father/bride dance at the wedding. Since Leo is stuck in the 60s, he suggested Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" - that was his only suggestion. I'm not sure this is an appropriate choice however as every time he hears it, all I hear about is the summer he was 18 and working in Wasaga Beach - I don't think we want to go there! He used to really be into music but his car radio is constantly tuned to the 60s station on Cirrius. All my attempts to get him listening to music from this century have failed dismally.

Maybe one of these days I'll actually have something quilty to report - but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm back and I'm feeling better - much more able to cope than earlier in the week. Leo is home again and feeling fine but unfortunately lost the little weight he had gained in the last month or so.

So, once again, it's onward and upward. When you are in that horrible place when things seem insurmountable, it's hard to believe that a few days later you are feeling better - not necessarily good, but at least able to cope.

I'm hoping to work only one day this week as I have a lot of catch up to do. My Aunt is hosting a shower for Sandra next Sunday but she asked if she could hold it here as our house is bigger. She's 81 so what could I say? Her heart is in the right place but I don't think she realizes what she's put on me.

Enough moaning - we all have our troubles and you don't need to constantly hear about mine. This song has been running through my head today so hope it brings a smile to your face.

The sun'll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray.
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always A day A way!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In The Words of Melissa Etheridge - I'm Having A Breakdown

I'm not sure why I'm writing this, other than I feel a need to pour out my heart. This has been a week like no other and I'm just barely keeping my head above water. Leo has been back in hospital since Monday with a bowel obstruction. I've been told that this is fairly common after as many surgical procedures as he's had as it's caused by scar tissue. They are hoping it will clear itself and surgical intervention won't be necessary. Right now he's not allowed any food or drink and they have tubes pumping his stomach to get what little is left in there out.

Sandra got some devastating news yesterday about my little grandkitty, Elliot. I'm not going into details but my heart just breaks for her. Vets have been wrong before and I hope with all my heart they are wrong with this diagnosis.

In between all this, I have been working full time this week. Now everyone at work has seen me totally break down and do the "ugly cry".

Did I mention the wedding is just six weeks away? How about the fact that my Mother needs to go into an assisted living facility but refuses to leave her home?

I really thought I was having a breakdown today and my wonderful doctor called me to reassure me about Leo and prescribed some medication to try and help me through this rough patch. Hell, this rough patch has been going on for over six months! I'm not adverse to taking drugs - anything to help me sleep and stop crying at the drop of a hat.

Each 'problem' on it's own I think I could manage, but I am torn in so many different directions it's getting harder and harder to cope.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Shower - The Bridal Kind

I just got home from a beautiful brunch shower for Sandra, hosted by her bridesmaid Elizabeth, Darren's sister. We had a great time and Elizabeth had enlarged framed pictures from their engagement shoot all around the room.

I'm kicking myself, however, as I must have inadvertently changed a setting on my camera half way through the pictures and half of them are really grainy. I've done this before and I'm not sure what I've touched but it really ticks me off.

In traditional bridal shower fashion, she wore her lovely new hat!

Tonight the Emmy's are on and I'm going to make a point of watching them as my sister-in-law is attending. She gets to walk the red carpet and rub elbows with the stars - lucky duck. She is a partner in a large ad agency in Toronto and gets to do all kinds of cool things. It's hard to be jealous though as she's my favourite sister-in law and is just so darned good to us all! I told her if she wanted to bring me something back she could put Hugh Laurie in her luggage.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Last Saturday of the Summer

I've been working - again - and will be all next week too so my posts will probably be few and far between. You'll probably also have to listen to me moan about it. I am so ready for my life to get back to a normal routine.

However, I did manage dinner and a movie with some girlfriends on Thursday night. We went to see 'The Women' which wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't as bad as the critics would like you to believe either. Meg Ryan was really captivating - and she looked like the Meg we all used to love in Sleepless in Seatle and You've Got Mail. There wasn't a man in the whole movie - not even in background scenes of pedestrians in New York.

I am making some progress with my Windmill Quilt.

I'm not, however, making any progress in getting my sewing room tidied up. I can't believe I'm showing this picture to you, but this is what my sewing table looks like right now.

I could never function like this at work. I have to have all my paperwork in a neat pile and I know exactly where everything is. Why, then, does my sewing table more often than not look like this? I stack it all up, add it to another pile on the floor, but before I know it, it looks like this again.

Maybe today I'll try and find a home for this stuff, but don't count on it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Useless Information

Leo knows more useless information than anyone I know. He always wins at Trivial Pursuit - doesn't matter which version you are playing. He attributes his so-called intelligence to the books he reads and the television he watches (except for baseball and football). He reads National Geographic from cover to cover every month, and watches The History Channel. I'm not sure where all the spaghetti westerns he watches fit into his theory. He calls what I watch 'television for the masses' and wouldn't be caught dead watching Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters or House - he doesn't know what he's missing!

I have been very proud of the fact that I haven't watched any TV all summer and to be honest, I haven't missed it. However, all the new shows are starting soon and I'm not sure my resolve will continue into the winter. How could I not watch American Idol and get my Simon fix every week?

I didn't purposely try to stop watching TV it just happened. I always prefer watching the TV in our bedroom and when Leo was sick, he was going to bed at 6:00 every night and I didn't want to turn it on and disturb him, so I just either read or sewed.

I found out the other day that The UPS Store offers a much better, cheaper and faster photocopy service than Staples. Last month I took the Guild's newsletter to Staples for photocopying and the girl who showed me how to use the double-sided feature and collating didn't know diddly squat about the machine. I was there for well over an hour and had to come home and staple them all.

On Friday, I took this month's newsletter to The UPS Store where I handed the originals to a really helpful man who inserted them into a photocopier that copied, collated and stapled them - all for 2.5 cents a copy less than Staples. I was in the store for approximately 10 minutes. Guess where I'll be going in future.

Continuing on with the useless information theme, I read a comment on Nadine's blog about a site called Ikea Hacker. This site takes all kinds of items sold at Ikea and uses them for purposes other than what they were intended. There are some great ideas on there. Make sure you check out the great drawers that Nadine got for all her beading supplies.

We have an Ikea about 10 minutes away - I'm going to have to pay it a visit with a more open mind and see what I can find to help organize my sewing room.

Monday Already

Yesterday we went to the menu tasting for the wedding and finalized all the time lines, set-up, etc. The meal was excellent and I only hope it is as good on 'the' day.

The wedding is being held in Niagara-on-the-Lake which is a very pretty little town on the Niagara River.

This is a picture of The Atrium, inside the hotel where the ceremony is being held.

When I got home I was totally exhausted. I've done way too much driving lately and my age is beginning to show as I just can't do it like I used to. Never before in my life have I wished I could be a passenger as much as I do right now.

Today I'm planning to clean out my display cabinet and china cabinet. You could write your name in the dust in both of them and since my Aunt is hosting a shower at our house in a couple of weeks, I need to get it done. I'd love to be able to ask my cleaning lady to do it and pay her extra, but I know what her answer would be. She insists I take all my ornaments off the tables when she comes as she doesn't want to be responsible for breaking them. She's a kind, honest lady which is why I haven't had the heart to look for someone else. She's also afraid of getting anywhere near the computer and you know how much dust they attract. There are many times I feel like I'm making a charitable donation when I pay her.

The dust is calling my name so I better get busy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quilt Seminar - Part Two

This is the raffle quilt made by members of the Amherst Quilt Guild - the picture really doesn't do it justice - it is just gorgeous. They were drawing a winner this afternoon but my phone hasn't rung yet .

Bonnie Browning did a lecture on Wednesday night which highlighted her trips (through slides) around the world to various quilting events. She did bring a couple of her quilts to show and this one was my favourite.

You can't really tell from this picture, but the flowers were three dimensional and were made by rouching the fabric. I took Bonnie's class on Thursday to make the famous 'Windmill Quilt' which was shown at the beginning of Simply Quilts.

This class was listed as a beginner class, but let me tell you, if this was the first quilting class I had ever taken, I'd be running for the hills - and still running. It isn't really difficult but colour placement is critical and keeping your strips organized, especially in a classroom setting, was a bit challenging.

I didn't enjoy this class nearly as much as Jodi's as both teachers have very different methods of teaching. I'm not sure if this is proper blog etiquette, but like Rian, I like to keep it real. Bonnie explained the method then sat at the front of the class and we were left on our own to screw up at will - and lots of us did. I got the feeling that she has taught this class so often that it's old hat to her, but it was a new method to us. I should point out that this is just my opinion and I know there were some in the class that had no problems at all.

Here is what I have so far - untrimmed and in no particular order.

I was lucky enough to win this as a door prize:

I already have a beautiful thread cabinet that Darren made for my embroidery thread, complete with little pegs so the thread won't fall off

so I'm hoping I can use my new thread holder downstairs for my longarm thread. I'm not sure if it will hold the cones and I haven't been able to summon up the energy to go downstairs and try one....but I will....soon.

Laurel Burch

I received this e-mail this morning on the one year anniversary of Laurel's death:

Dear Friends of Laurel:

Itʼs hard to believe that itʼs been a year since Laurelʼs passing. Everyday we continue to be touched by her brilliant spirit. Her art will forever brighten up our lives and tickle our hearts.
We want to thank you for holding us close this last year. As you can imagine, it has been a very challenging time. We miss our beloved LB. Your love and support continues to inspire us to carry on her message.

Laurel loved all flowers, especially those colorful and exotic! Please join us in honoring Laurel on Saturday, September 13th by placing a flower that reminds you of her in a body of water.
Laurel spent her lifetime sharing her magic with the world. We would love it if you would photograph your "Flower to Laurel" and send it to us so we can create a tribute page to share back with you.

Please send these photos to

With Love,
The Laurel Burch Family
Rick, Aarin and Jay

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eye Candy

I have lots of pictures to share from my seminar at the Amherst Museum Quilt Guild.

On Wednesday I took Jodi Barrows class called 'Southern Skies' to make this quilt:

Her method is very easy using a square in a square ruler and the possibilities are endless as you can see from some of her samples:

She is an excellent teacher who gave clear instructions and was constantly walking around checking what everyone was doing to make sure she caught mistakes before they happened. Her Texas accent was really endearing and she had some really cute little expressions to help us remember the steps involved.

There is a fair bit of waste with this method, but the results are perfect every time and if you do applique or paper piecing, you could always save your scraps.

That's Jodi on the right, with Peg, another certified Square in a Square teacher from the Rochester area who came to help out. The quilt above was one of my favourites. They both had endless patience and gave us so much information on resizing blocks and border ideas.

It was a really fun class and we all got a lot accomplished.

The Museum has some really interesting exhibits of rooms from various eras and I took some pictures of the kitchens - I found the sayings really entertaining.

I'm hoping you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, but if not, this one from the 1900s says "There is no more attractive room than a well-fitted kitchen, shining with cleanliness".

From the 1940s - 'The American homemaker has an important role to play in the war effort. Her uniform is the kitchen apron.'

'If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits, they should have, as one means of securing this result, a neat and cheerful kitchen.'

I'll save the rest for tomorrow.

P.S. - I have had more Spam comments to this post than ever before. Do they search for certain words - if so - I wonder what they are so I can avoid them in future. Other than being annoying, what do they get out of these posts to comments?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Musings

I took Tillie for a test drive today and ran into a problem. She just wouldn't work on stitch regulated mode so I called APQS. It amazed me how quickly they determined what the problem was. Turns out there was an extra lead that Leo didn't quite know what to do with, so he didn't do anything with it - he just left it lying on the table. That lead connected the stitch regulator to the encoder and when I hooked it up, she purred like a kitten. Leo swears he told me he had that left over, but I don't remember hearing him say that......

When I was going through all the stuff that came with it, I found a pre-paid UPS label to send it back. So, I guess the thread really was a gift! This machine is much quieter than my other one - not only the motor but the stitch regulator beeper. The on/off switch is easily accessible from both sides which means I'll get even less exercise as I won't have to walk around the table.

Tonight I made some Blocks of the Month for our Guild. I don't normally participate in this, but a new group took it over this year and I wanted to show my support. I didn't like the individual block, but when you get a couple put together (there are 4 blocks here), it does make an interesting pattern.

Then I took all the cut off triangles and sewed them into pairs.

It doesn't get much more exciting than this!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I can't seem to get motivated to do much this weekend. I did get all the fabric cut for my two classes this week but most of the stuff on my cutting table that I was going to clean up ended up piled on the floor until I'm in a better frame of mind to find a 'home' for it.

I saw a link on Randi's blog for a tutorial on a little jewellery purse. I tried one today and they go together very quickly and very easily:

There are four pockets inside to keep things separate:

And when it's closed, it looks like a flower.

I didn't have much 1/4" ribbon to pick and choose from - I think a contrasting colour would have been nicer - oh, and Lee - the poka dots are just for you!

This is probably ancient history to most of you, but I just recently discovered that you can download all the quilt stores in the U.S.A. and Canada into your GPS - all 2,014 of them! Just go here and follow the instructions for "POI Files" - Points of Interest (to get to the Quilt Stores, click on 'view all POI files' then scroll down to Quilt Stores). For all you coffee lovers, you can download all the Starbucks locations too. There are lots of POI files to pick from - it's another great time waster site so be prepared.

Leo was kind enough to download it for me before the NFL started.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Finally Some Quilting Content

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who left comments and e-mailed me about Leo. It is very much appreciated by us both and you have no idea just how much your concern and good wishes mean to me.

My new Tillie arrived this week and Leo got her set up for me. I haven't had a chance to actually do anything with her yet, but she sure looks pretty!

I just can't say enough good things about A.P.Q.S. Since they couldn't send me a free UPS return label because I'm in Canada, they sent me this instead:

Those 'gifts' are worth at least three times more than it will cost me to send my old machine back. They really are a great company!

Yesterday, four friends from our Stitch N Chat group did a Quilter's Shop Hop in the Buffalo, N.Y. area. What a great time we had and the stores really went all out to provide goodie bags, snacks and drinks at each location. We also received a 'clue' at each store for a quilt designed by Debbie Caffrey. We even managed to squeeze in a visit to Jo-Ann's and Wal-Mart and the icing on the cake was we sailed through customs.

Here's a picture of my loot from the day - a lot of the fat quarters were gifts in the goodie bags:

You all know how much I needed more fabric - right?

If everything goes according to plan, I'm on vacation for the next week. I leave on Wednesday for my seminar in Amherst, NY and I have some cutting that I need to get done this weekend so I'll be prepared for my classes.

Before I do that, however, I need to clear off my sewing table. Where I'm going to put the stuff that's on my table is a mystery to me, but maybe I can just add a little bit more to the growing piles on the floor.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


We just got back from Toronto and everything went really well. They were able to remove Leo's pancreatic stones and insert a stent. He has go to back in a month for a check-up, then hopefully that is it.

He is sleeping right now and I think I'm going to go and join him. Battling rush hour traffic twice in one day has done me in but I'm not complaining. I'd do it every day if it helped make him well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Playmate For Ben?

We must be crazy. Leo and I have both been thinking seriously about adding to our family - something that meows. The only thing stopping us is how Mr. Benjamin would react. As most of you know, he is one spoiled little dog and he loves to be the center of our attention. I'm not sure he would appreciate sharing the limelight with a kitty.

I've been checking the local Humane Society website diligently and this little sweetie was on there this weekend. Isn't she adorable! I'm not sure if Ben might think she was a squeaky toy though and toss her around. This needs more thought...

Leo goes into hospital in Toronto tomorrow. The specialist is going to try and remove his pancreatic stones and put in a stent to help keep the duct open so the enzymes can flow freely - the way they are supposed to. If everything goes well, he will be home tomorrow night, but we were warned he could be admitted for up to 3 days. If this is successful, he should start to regain some of the considerable weight he has lost.

I know he's feeling apprehensive, but he's been feeling so much better lately that I just have to believe that this is going to work!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Feel A Rant Coming On....

We were invited to friends for lunch today - Leo's first 'official' outing since he's been sick. What should have been a one hour trip turned into a nightmare as Six Nations Native protesters once again closed down one of the major highways linking our area with areas to the west.

I won't go into all the details - it all started over Native land claims - and the Ontario and Federal Government has done nothing (in my opinion and that of almost everyone else you talk to) to stop them barricading Hwy. #6 in Caledonia. What this means is you have to take a long, circuitous route to get from A to B which adds at least half an hour to your trip - one way. With gas prices what they are today, that isn't peanuts!

What angers me is that if I decided to block the road in front of my house and refused to move, I would be arrested and fined. If I did it repeatedly, I would ultimately end up in jail. Why this has been allowed to continue for more than 3 YEARS is beyond me. Today's blockade was apparently prompted by the arrest of some Six Nations people the night before in a City miles away from the disputed land claim sight.

The residents in the area of the blockade have seen their house prices decrease, their businesses close and their livelihood taken away and yet our government still sits back and does nothing to stop it. Enough is enough!

We did have a nice visit, but the frustration coming and going overshadowed what could have been a lovely day.