Sunday, June 28, 2009

Squares & Bugs

I can't believe my week of vacation is almost over and I've spent most of it sick. I did get a spurt of energy yesterday though and got my Boxed Squares sewn together.

I also pieced the backing fabric - it might be a bit busy, but the colours worked quite well and it's been sitting in my stash for quite some time.

While I was sewing my Boxed Squares on "Baby Ben" (it's cute and it's little and it's black, just like my baby),

I was doing some multi-tasking and stitching these little guys out.

I can't quite decide if they look like ladybugs or little aliens - maybe a little of both? There are 10 in the set, then I'll make a little baby quilt out of them - at least that is the plan.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Jersey Boys

Sandra and I had been planning for some time to go and see The Jersey Boys in Toronto today. The show was fantastic and I would highly recommend it. For those of you not familiar with the musical, it is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

The rest of our day wasn't quite as great as the show. Some of you may be aware that the City of Toronto's municipal workers are out on strike. While I realized this affected garbage pick-up, what I didn't realize was that all the city owned parking lots would be barricaded and picketed.

The weather today reached the high 90s with a heat index well over 100 - try walking in that with asthma!

Now for the rant....there was garbage everywhere - overflowing from bins, lying on the sidewalks and a lot of the bins had been wrapped so you couldn't put any garbage in them. These workers are striking in part to protect their policy of being able to bank and cash up to 6 months of 18 days a year sick pay benefits. In this economy they should be thankful they have a job, let alone one that allows you 18 days a year of sick days.

The Premier of Ontario refuses to introduce legislation mandating these people back to work - he is asking that we be patient. I guess it doesn't bother him as his limo drives him door to door wherever he goes. The majority of people in the province believe that these positions should be classified as 'essential services' and the employees not allowed to strike.

What a wonderful impression this must make for tourists. Toronto's tourism industry suffered badly in the SARS outbreak after 9/11. It's taken all this time to build it up but who in their right mind would want to visit a city with picketers everywhere and garbage littering the streets - piles and piles of it. It is a public health issue - the rats in the garbage will soon be as big as the political rats who refuse to put an end to this and legislate these workers back to WORK!

I'll get off my soapbox now, but every so often I just have to get these rants off my chest!

Regularly scheduled programming will resume when I actually have something quilty to show you.

Bathing Beauties

The weather co-operated and we had Stitch N Chat Chat N Eat outside today. Here are the ladies chatting:

Left to right Lee, Janet, Doreen & Bev. I neglected to get a picture of the others eating! See those eight feet in the pool - that is the most this pool has been used in 2 years! Just this past week we spent $500 for a new filter and yesterday another $500 for repairs to the gas heater. We call it the big hole in the backyard we pour money into. After writing the cheques for these repairs, both Leo & I have decided we will use it this year - but don't hold your breath for pictures!

I had a nice dinner tonight with some girlfriends. We try and get together a couple of times a year, but although I saw two of them at our Anniversary party, I haven't seen the other two for almost a year. We set up a bi-monthly dinner schedule in an attempt to keep in better touch.

You might notice I'm writing this at 12:25 A.M. I wish I could be like Mary and be productive on the nights I can't sleep, but I'm just groggy enough to probably screw up anything I might attempt to do. I'm back on some heavy duty pills AGAIN - and my all time favourite - prednisone. It's 'just' my asthma but I told the Dr. today that if it isn't any better when I see him again tomorrow, to get the gun ready. Enough is enough. I've spent hours reading everything I can find about asthma - triggers, treatment, prevention and unless I want to join John Travolta in that glass bubble, there isn't much I can do that I'm not doing already.

Ben had a ball today - literally - he had 9 people willing to throw the ball for him and throw it they did. Of course why wouldn't they - he thinks they all came just to see him!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baking & Bookmarks

It's been busy around here lately, but not on the quilting front. Thursday night I went with the girls at work to a "Martini & Manicure" night at a local restaurant, Cucci. For $20 you got a martini and a manicure and the most delicious appetizers like scallops, bruchetta with cherry tomatoes and prosciutto, mushrooms and risotto coated in polenta then pan fried. I only wish I'd taken my camera to get pictures as the presentation was as good as the food. I'm now wearing "I'm a Princess, You're Not" - don't you just love the names OPI come up with.

Friday, Sandra and I made a trek down to Buffalo where she had a very successful day and I loaded up on all the Aveda products I love which are about a quarter of the price there than they are here. I picked up some more fusible fleece at Joann's in the hopes of making some more bags. There wasn't a line-up at the border either coming or going so it looks like the new passport requirement has cut down on the number of people crossing.

Yesterday, we celebrated my Mum's 87th birthday, along with Father's Day. The weather co-operated and it was a beautiful warm, sunny day.

In between all of this, I've been stitching these out:

They are free standing lace bookmarks and they stitched out beautifully. I thought they would be nice to have on hand when you need a 'little something' for a thank you. They stitched out so well, it has inspired me to do some more machine embroidery but I haven't quite decided what I'll do yet. Maybe the ornaments I bought about 2 years ago and have yet to stitch out?

Tomorrow I'm hosting our Stitch N Chat so I did some baking this afternoon. I really think we should change the name to Chat N Eat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Boxed Squares & Fish

I haven't spent a lot of time sewing the last couple of days, but I did get all my boxed squares put together. Now I can either spend countless hours arranging and rearranging them, or I can just sew them together the way they are. I really need to do something about that guitar border - it's been there so long I don't even notice it anymore.

Leo got home safely last night and had a wonderful time. He brought some trout (yuck) and pickerel (yum) all nicely filleted.

He was near a place called White River which is the original home of Winnie the Pooh. I guess Winnie came from White River before he was taken to Winnipeg where he got his name. This is the statue paying homage to Winnie - what a cheesy statue - looks like something you'd find in a McDonalds!

I have no idea what kind of fish this is, but apparently it's quite the catch!

Here are Leo & Steve showing off their quota.

Then, we have the best picture he took of his trip. This is Cocoa who lived in the lodge they stayed at.

She's much cuter than any old fish pictures!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunny Sunday Afternoon

I made it through the week, but it wasn't fun. Retirement is looking more appealing every day. I did have some luck this week though - I won $135 on some scratch tickets.

I'm not a big gambler but occasionally I'll pick up some tickets when I'm checking out - notice the name - Lucky Dog!! I have $10 more here to cash in and of course, I'll buy more tickets with that.

Thanks to Bunny's suggestion, I found some ironing board covers on Ebay. I'd looked there before but I guess the size I have is becoming more popular so there are more covers available. I picked up two for $12 each and shipping was only $5 for both so I'm a happy camper. If you have to iron, what could be nicer than looking at these little guys while you're doing it.

I've been playing with some Bali Pops this weekend.

Aren't the colours luscious.

I'm really not sure why I buy quilting books. I spend hours and hours looking through them for pattern ideas, then nine times out of ten, I make something from Mary's site. The above pattern is her Boxed Squares - I've made it before and it's fun and easy.

Speaking of Mary, her sister Deb has a new DVD out on the Machine Quilters Resource site. It's longarm specific and while I haven't seen it yet as I just ordered my copy the other day, I know that anything Deb does will be brilliant! If you haven't already checked out her work, please do so as you are in for a treat. She is one talented lady - it must run in that family!

Another blog friend has just opened a new Etsy Shop this week with some of her gorgeous hand dyes for sale. Vicki has been making these amazing Color Palettes for the last couple of months based on pictures. They truly are eye candy and the fabric she has dyed is beautiful. Please check out Vicki's blog and you'll find the link to her new Etsy store there.

Mrs. Paws paid Ben a visit as promised and he is even more handsome than ever, or could I be slightly prejudiced?

He is missing his Dad but I told him just one more sleep and his Daddy will be home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's Almost Hump Day

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of quilting information that is now available to us online? It seems that not only stores, but magazines, forums and blog rings are all vying for our attention - and our dollar. It no longer seems enough just to subscribe to a magazine - now they want us to join their 'special' club for even more information and savings.

I admit I spend a lot of time on the computer. If I spent half as much time sewing as I do surfing, I'd get a lot more accomplished, but there is only so much information you can absorb. There are now quilting videos on You Tube - some of them just teasers to get you to buy the actual DVD.

My inbox is full of quilt store specials and blog ring deals. Yes, it's my own fault for signing up for some of these e-mails, and on a good day I delete them without even reading them. Sometimes, though, I am tempted by all the 'great deals' offered to me.

I'm not going anywhere with this, it's merely an observation.

On the work front - two days down and three to go. I've talked to Leo every day and he is feeling fine and enjoying the fishing. Nothing could appeal to me less than being out in the middle of nowhere, freezing my butt off surrounded by bugs, but if it makes him happy, that's all that matters.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Inspiration and imagination have flown out my window, along with what little energy I had. I did absolutely nothing yesterday. I'm gearing up to work full time this week and I can't imagine right now making it through the week. Details on my pity party will follow :-)

I got up this morning determined to do something, and when all else fails, make a strippy quilt. It is mindless cutting and sewing and goes together so quickly.

It looks rather disjointed in this picture but it doesn't appear that way in the flesh. I have enough strips left to make another one, so maybe I'll get that put together this afternoon - if I can stay off the Scrabble board long enough to do it.

Leo left yesterday for a 10 day fishing trip. He used to travel a lot for his job, so I was used to him being away, but things are different now and I'll worry myself sick the whole time he's gone, especially since he is out of cell phone range in the middle of nowhere. He did get the O.K. from his doctors, so I have to hope that they know what they are doing.

Somebody needs a visit from Mrs. Paws.

She is coming on Wednesday and then he will be handsome and debonair once again. Right now, he just looks like he has bed head!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What A Weekend!

In my last post on Friday I mentioned we were going to a wedding the next day. Well, Friday night I got sick - really sick - and kept both Gravol and Imodium in business for the next several days. I know, too much information!

The wedding was in Niagara Falls and I've known Andy, the groom, all his life. How could I not attend his wedding? Somehow I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and passed out in the car while Leo drove. I actually stayed in the car until just before the ceremony, attended the ceremony, then went back to the car to pass out again. I wanted Leo to stay for the dinner and I would just stay in the car, but everyone insisted he take me home. It was a beautiful wedding - what small part I saw, and here is a picture of the happy couple, along with my darling adopted granddaughters who were the flower girl and junior bridesmaid (it was their Uncle who got married).

This tin man statue really caught my eye - flowers and all!

Now, what I didn't tell you was that on Sunday our family had invited us to a country inn for brunch to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. When we got home from the wedding, Leo talked to Sandra and told her I was sick, but no offers were made to cancel the brunch or change the date. This made me slightly suspicious but I thought that perhaps they had invited another couple to join us.

So Sunday morning I drag myself out of bed again and try and look presentable for brunch. I knew I wouldn't be able to eat a thing, but somehow I just knew it was important that I be there. When we got to Sandra & Darren's, I was overwhelmed to find all our family and dearest friends there to surprise us.

This is Trudy, my matron of honour and her husband Lou and below is Shirley, my bridesmaid and her husband Gary.

Sandra & Darren did the most amazing job and I was so proud of them both and what they had done for us. They had the brunch catered and while I couldn't eat anything, I was told everything was yummy, including the made to order omlettes.

Check out the cake!

I really hate to post this picture as I look awful - there wasn't enough make-up in the world that would put colour in my cheeks that day and I didn't have the energy to put any on anyway. Here we are - 35 years later - where did the time go?