Thursday, December 31, 2009

Swinging in the New Year

It's December 31st. Last day of 2009. Where did the last 12 months go?
No one has ever been able to answer this question.

What are your plans for New Years Eve? Neil and I will not be doing any
"swing dancing", "cha cha", or "the tango". I myself prefer a quiet, rent a movie, put a fire on, in my pajamas by 6 p.m., and get take out at one of our downtown restaurants, kind of night. Neil wants to party all night, so he says. Fughetaboutit! I'm lucky if I can stay awake past 8:30 p.m. on any given night. Actually, our plans are to go out for dinner with friends (at 5:30 p.m., as early as possible) and walk around downtown Brockville and finish up my window shopping. Tomorrow, I'm putting Neil to work in the kitchen baking pies that we are taking to John & Rachel's for lunch on Saturday. Dakoda's plans? She will be patiently waiting her turn for attention and then we'll take her for a long walk along the river. I wonder if she knows that another year has passed?

Happy New Year!! Best Wishes for 2010!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Secrets Revealed


Do you recall on a previous posting about a "secret assignment"? Well, I received word that it finally arrived safe and sound. It took over a month for the parcel to arrive
in South Wales.













They had just experienced a postal strike so needless to say, the mail was a tad backed up.
Now that the quiltie has arrived, I can let the cat out of the bag! My assignment was to make a "winter themed" wallhanging for a 15-year-old daughter (Gemma) of one of the quilters (Gemma's mom, Gina) in my "Spring Fling Round Robin" group (say that a few times!!) It took a bit of thinking and then I got an idea...a really good idea! Now you will understand when I posted earlier why it was "hard to say goodbye!" I had a lot of fun putting together a "special parcel" for Gemma because it began with the theme of "some of my favorite things" starting with the snowglobe wallhanging. (In case you didn't already know, I collect snowglobes). From there I added more of my favorite things, a notebook (cause I like to write things down), chocolate (no explanation required) and other Christmas candy (cause it's Christmas) that might not be available in South Wales. I received an email from Gina to say that the parcel arrived and that "I did good"!! I am so glad to hear this since it was a "special assignment" and I didn't want to disappoint anyone. Thanks to our host Mom, Margaret. She must have a lot of faith in me.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays



To All My Quilting Friends Near and Far,

May your hearts and homes be filled with warmth and love this holiday season.


Have a Merry Little Christmas and Best Wishes for 2010!


Affectionately,

Sharon, Neil & family (and of course Dakoda)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Piece by Piece





Do you paper piece? Just like applique, either you love it or hate it! I myself, I really enjoy it! It's a great way of using up scraps (generous amounts of scraps is the ticket). You also get perfect points everytime!
As you may already know, I've been "chained" or "hog tied" to my studio finishing up Christmas gifts (yeah I know, leave it all to the very last minute). I finished up this little cutie this morning. The finished size is 13" x 15". Boy there was a lot of piecing in each of those little trees but it was worth it. Don't you think? It has been folded up and posted in the mail today but unfortunately won't get there until after the 25th. That's okay. It will be a nice little surprise post-Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Only Seven More!!


It's Friday, December 18th...only seven more big sleeps until Christmas. Are you ready or not? Me? I made a promise to myself about a month or so ago that I was not going to spent the week before Christmas, or even Christmas Eve finishing up gifts. For several years now, I have spent the good part of Christmas Eve stitching down a binding or two and getting to bed late. It's my own fault cause I always seem to put things off or come up with another idea of something that I would like to stitch together for Christmas.
Last year, I made for each of Neil's kids a Christmas stocking. The pattern was simple enough...stripped piecing. But that wasn't good enough. I machine quilted them, then changed the cuff on the stocking. It should have taken me a few hours but I turned the tasked into a "dusk till dawn"! They turned out beautiful and the kids love them!! Christmas shopping? I left this job up to Neil since he is more qualified in this department and has many years of experience! I myself shopped for the little things and I'm pleased to say that I don't have to step one foot into a store until 2010!! Yes!! This thrills me!! However, I will be chained to my studio for the next few days finishing up a couple of gifts. I'll be out soon!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Part III - Completion
















Do you recall this previous posting time-capsule.html? Well, the corner of the kitchen is "done", "finished", "finito". I am so pleased with the end results since it wasn't the easiest job in the world. Neil did a fabulous job with the trim work and I have to give myself a "pat on the back" for the drywalling, mudding, sanding and painting! Ya done good girl!! I wonder how long it will take before anyone finds the time capsule? Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon, that I know of. In the meantime, I will enjoy the new and improved corner of my world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

St. Paul's Chapel

Right beside Ground Zero is St. Paul's Chapel.
After the terriorist attack on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site. Apparently the chapel during the attack of the twin towers remained intact...no windows were broken. Not a crack in the foundation. Nothing was disturbed. Inside the chapel you will find 23 different artifacts on display, a collection of cots, crosses, banners, letters, teddy bears all donated after September 11th, and hear the stories behind them. I didn't take any pictures inside because there was just something sacred about this church and the memories left behind. Today, St. Paul's continues as an active part of the Parish of Trinity Church, holding services, weekday concerts, occasional lectures, and providing a shelter for the homeless.

The Bucket List

Everyone has one of these lists. You know, the list of things that you would like to see or do before you "kick the bucket". Neil and I have a "Bucket List" and actually it is almost identical to each others (except for the back country skiing in Montana where the snow is up to your waist...sorry but I'll pass on that one. Neil is the extreme skier, not me!) One thing that is on both of our lists is a trip to New York City. Well, this is what we did this past weekend. We did the trip with "Bruce Wylie's Tour" here in Brockville. Bruce and his wife Ilene have been taking people down to NYC since 1996. They know the city like the back of their hands. It's like having your own personal tour guide for the entire trip!! We left early Friday morning from Brockville, traveled by coach bus to the city and returned late Sunday night. It was a fun filled, fast paced, no time for resting, leave the high heel shoes at home, kind of weekend. Really, there was no time wasted as Bruce runs a "tight ship". I can't even begin to tell you how many miles Neil and I walked but I certainly gave the Saucony running shoes a good workout!! I took a lot of pictures and have chosen a few of my favorites to share with you.






I do know for sure that I can stroke off my "Bucket List" the following: Go to NYC, see Time Square, Macy's Department Store (didn't spend enough time there, must go back on the list), see Ground Zero, ride the Staten Island Ferry and see the Statue of Liberty, see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (they were still decorating it and revealing it on December 2nd, must go back on the list), see a Broadway performance (we saw Memphis), see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Center, see the Brooklyn bridge and take the tunnel under the Hudson River. Man, did we ever accomplish a lot in three days!!
If you happen to live in the Brockville area, I highly recommend this trip with Bruce!! It exceeded our expectations and we're already talking about returning next year but next time take Tyler & Chelsey with us (we've extended the Bucket List). Many thanks to Bruce & Ilene for showing us a great time in NYC!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Never Can Say Goodbye"











For the past couple of years, I have participated in two quilting exchange groups online (Spring Fling Round Robin & Another Little Quilt Swap).
I thoroughly enjoy the challenges and taking my quilting ability to the next level or just to be inspired one way or another. I just finished my final project/challenge for 2009. It was a Christmas themed swap with Spring Fling Round Robin/Four Seasons. Once again, I can only give you a sneak peak since "it's a secret, and because it's getting close to Christmas, you're not allowed to ask questions". I was given a "special assignment" and that's pretty much all that I can tell you at this time. However, one problem...the miniature quilt turned out so gosh, darn, cute that I had a hard time saying goodbye to it!! It was posted on the weekend and I'm just going to sit and wait for the final outcome. When it reaches its final destination, then I'll post a pic of the finished product and then you will come to realize why it was hard to say goodbye.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Take Four

I've been getting a little bit excited these days. Halloween is over and now the rush is on for Christmas. What's so great about this? I'll tell ya...it's all the Christmas decorations, baking ingredients, new food products just for the Holiday Season. Do you get it now? My favorite thing to do is to go around to the different stores and check out what's new. I don't necessarily buy anything. I just like gawking at it. This past weekend, Neil and I made a quick trip to Ogdensburg, New York which is just a "hop and a skip" from Brockville. It's fun heading to the United States and snooping around the different stores cause everything is just a bit different than what we have here in Canada. Take a look at the "Oreo cookies". They're different. These ones are "Winter" with a red center. (They had the same ones for Halloween but the centers were orange. Neat eh!). I bought these for Chelsey & Tyler's lunches (oh, and Neil too!) but they came with specific instructions. They had to "take four". Two for themselves and two for someone else. The recipient has to be someone who just might need a "spring in their step", or is "having a bad day", or just to "surprise someone". Who can't resist an Oreo cookie, especially one with a red center. Also, it's fun to share and the kids get a kick out of doing so. (I wonder where they get it from??)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Conversing with Dakoda














If you were to ever have a conversation with Dakoda, it would go something like this...

"Wanna go outside? Let's go outside. Can we go outside? We should go outside. Have you been outside?"

Dakoda is our beloved, French-Canadian Golden Retriever whom we adopted two years ago after hearing of her blight of needing a new home. She is not your average Golden Retriever, personality wise. She is a.k.a. "The Princess/Drama Queen (as the kids refer to her as)/Head of the House"
Lord help you if you don't include her in every activity especially a car ride. She's always glad to see you when you get home but then will "chew you out" for leaving her behind...alone, again! Despite all her idiosyncrasies, she is a very affectionate, loving dog and has certainly won the hearts of her family especially her grandparents. I keep reminding Neil that we wouldn't trade her for a million dollars. This statement is usually followed by a long pause by Neil and then an even further pause when I look at him for a response. It then will be followed by "I'm still thinking". A house isn't the same without a dog.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Labour of Love










October was an extremely busy month for all of us...traveling to visit both families for Thanksgiving and aging just a bit. We celebrated two birthdays this month, Chelsey who is now 19-years-old and Neil whom I won't mention his age no matter what you may bribe me with.
Okay, you got it out of me, here's a hint...take my age and add on five years = Neil's age. (He absolutely hates it when I mention this little equation!! But as my mother would say "it's just a number which really doesn't mean a whole lot!! Always listen to your mother!! Sometimes she may know more than you!!) What did Neil get for his birthday? He got a box of 24 fat quarters...batiks to be exact, his favorite! If you ask him, he'll tell you it's the "beginning of a stash waiting to happen"! The plans? I'm building a "Chocolate Bliss" quilt which is an original design by my friend Nellie Holmes http://www.uppercanadaquiltworks.com/ How many quilters have given a gift that will be "completed later"? Please raise your hand. Okay, you are forgiven! I am one of those quilters that enjoys and savors the process of building and creating. Did you know that your 1/4" seams are more accurate if you sew in your pajamas?? It's a well known fact and proven by many of my quilting friends. Come to my house on one of my days off and I will give you a demonstration. In the meantime, I will continue to build Neil's quilt. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Make a Woman Happy...Very Happy!











Every man on the face of the earth should know the answer to this statement or at least have some sort of understanding when it comes to making any woman happy. It doesn't take much to make me happy (Neil will agree to this...I think). Any little thing pleases me. I live on the theory of "keeping it simple" and I don't like "complicated things or matters". Yesterday, here on King Street, I was one "happy woman"!! Do you see it!! No more "man eating holes". No more mounds of dirt and gravel. No more pipes, fittings and heavy machinery. It's grass baby!! I was deliriously happy and then came along this watering truck who hosed down all the sod and cleaned the sidewalk! Now that's how you make this woman happy!! I was so overcome with joy that I hosed down the front of the house and cleaned windows to remove the 1/4" dust that had been accumulating for months and months. King Street is coming back to life!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hocuspocusville


Ever notice that pretty much every quilter has a "distinguishing feature" when it comes to their work. You know, there's the appliquers, the embellishers, the traditionalists etc. What I'm getting at is that everyone has their own "claim to fame" when it comes to quilting. For example, my friend Tammy Spencer. She is a master at several trades...long arm machine quilter (she does all of my quilting. I usually hand over a quilt top with instructions to "surprise me!!"), works extremely well under pressure (I know for a fact that she has pulled a few all nighters to get her quilts done for a show or two!!) But the one thing that always inspired me was her embroidery! She has done some amazing quilts with embroidered blocks. With this in mind, Tammy introduced me to Crapapple Hill Studio after seeing her "Winter Wonderland" quilt which took 1st Place at the recent Thousand Islands Quilters Guild "Quilt Fest" this past June. It was stunning!! It was beautiful!! It made me want to start doing some embroidery of my own!! First stop...Crapapple Hill Studio website. Since I'm a lover of Halloween, I immediately spotted "Hocuspocusville", a whimsical witch's village. It's 12 blackwork embroidered blocks of shops surrounding the town "nine patch" squares. How many blocks do I have done...almost 2! This is what I was working on in the car when Neil and I drove home for Thanksgiving last weekend. Will it be done in time for Halloween? Absolutely!! October 31st, 2011 to be exact! Man is there ever a lot of stitching! But it's something that I can pick up after working the night shift, or sit and watch a movie with no thought required. (Bridget Jones's Diary is a great movie to watch when stitching or binding a quilt). Isn't it amazing how your quilting friends have such an impact on one another!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cassidy Thanksgiving
















This past weekend certainly went by quickly...too quickly to be exact. The majority of our time was spent traveling from one side of Ontario to visit my family and then heading back to the other side to visit Neil's family. To make the traveling time go faster, I downloaded a book and a couple of podcasts to listen to along the way. While Neil was busy driving and listening, I spent the time working on some stitching. One can accomplish a lot of stitches in 12 hours! Monday afternoon we arrived in Osgoode for the "Cassidy Family Thanksgiving". Pictured here is Neil's brothers, John & Bruce and his Mom & Dad, Pat & Alf. I give Pat a lot of credit in raising four boys!! It's been several years since everyone has been home at the same time, in the same city, in the same room to celebrate a holiday or event. The kids had a great time visiting with their aunts, uncles and cousins. The food was plentiful and delicious in both destinations (I made the mistake of jumping on the scales this morning. How many pieces of pumpkin pie did I actual inhale?? Oh my!!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Look What I Spotted...


It's Friday afternoon and I have been up for 1 1/2 hrs (came off the night shift this morning). What have I done so far? Read the Ottawa Citizen (I'm addicted to this paper. It gives me a bit of everything that I need to know and since it's Friday...movie reviews!!), consumed a bowl of cereal and topped it off with a coffee. Now I'm waiting for the java to kick in!! Next on the agenda is to check my emails and snoop around the internet.
I also like to check into a few of my favorite blogs. I love to read what other quilters are working on or seeing a pic of their latest find. Then I spotted this pic on www.the-humming-cat.blogspot.com The jelly rolls caught my eye but then I noticed what was underneath the rolls!! It's the miniature quilt that I made for an exchange that took forever (three months to be exact) to travel from Canada to Australia last fall. I was almost certain that it was confiscated since the parcel contained Maple syrup. So there it is!! Put to good use!! This absolutely thrills me to pieces!! Now it's got me thinking...I have enough left over fabric to make a second one! Perhaps a giveaway on my blog?? I'll have to ponder over this one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This coming weekend is our Thanksgiving here in Canada. Our weekend plans are to head home to visit with my side of the family and staying in Elora with friends. We will commence our weekend early Saturday morning to beat the traffic driving through Toronto. Neil has already been "briefed" on the weekend agenda which consists of stopping at a couple of quilt shops along the way!
(Keep in mind, this usually costs me lunch in St. Jacobs at Vidalia's) Sunday we're travelling to the family farm and spending time with my family. Monday morning we are back on the road again early not only to get ahead of the traffic, but also on to another Thanksgiving dinner with Neil's family in Osgoode. Neil's oldest brother Bruce and his family are visiting from Alberta and the entire gang will be together, the first in many, many years. So needless to say, we have a busy weekend ahead of us plus lots of turkey, gravy, mashed pototes and I mustn't forget to mention pumpkin pie with whip cream! It's only once a year that I indulge but someone has to do it. Happy Thanksgiving from Our Home to Yours!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pumpkin Time of Year


Have you noticed or did anyone realize that next Thursday is October 1st? (Insert groans, sighs, "please don't remind me" comments here).
I noticed and I absolutely love this time of year! Why? Take a look...
Who cannot resist pumpkins, gourds, squash, apples and anything that resembles Autumn at a road side stand? Soup anyone?

Can't you just picture a basket on the counter with these beauties? It makes my heart sing just thinking about it.
But then I came across these pumpkins!! What are on those pumpkins? Warts or polyps? Are they grown on "Misfit Island"? Does their mother's know? Looks like some growth they picked up from the gourds. One never knows what takes place in a field? But they would make a great conversation starter when your guests arrive cause you invited them over for a bowl of Roasted Butternut Squash soup.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Best $4.99 Ever Spent!



One thing that I know for sure is that if you are a quilter, then you are a great cook. It just seems to go hand in hand. All of my quilting friends are great
cooks since I have been to their houses for lunch one time or another. But do they own one of these? It's an oven thermometer (not for meat but for your oven). A little known fact about myself...I love to cook!! I read recipes like they were novels. I'm always clipping, saving, organizing and trying out recipes. Neil has no complaints and is more than willing to participate in the taste testing. However, I made the discovery that my oven was too hot!! How hot? It was too hot to handle! I purchased an oven thermometer and put it to the test and lo and behold, my oven is 75 degrees too hot! So, I tested out my new found gadget and made a "Spicy Banana Loaf" for Neil and it turned out perfect!! Just passing on "words of wisdom" from my kitchen to yours.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer 2009


Summer finally arrived here in Ontario but only two months too late. So needless to say, the last couple of weeks has been enjoyed at the cottage with family and friends.
(Now you know where I have been these last few weeks...not at my computer blogging). These are the views from the cottage overlooking Bobs Lake. They were taken at the same time, just in different lighting since the sun was setting and I had to move quickly. The fall season is my absolutely favorite time of year to be at the cottage. We have several oak trees which means lots of raking of leaves. There is nothing like spending the weekend working outside or taking walks with Dakoda and spending the evening by the fire with a bowl of steaming soup and crusty bread (and of course a glass of wine).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Local Observations




I was driving home the other day and happened to notice something in my peripheral vision. I did a quick "double take", made a big "u-turn" and headed back to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Have you noticed the trees? Please don't hate me for mentioning it since we have had a disappointing summer. Where did I spot these trees changing colors so soon? That's right...Brockville Cemetery. It just so happened that I had my camera with me and decided to take a stroll around the grounds. Have you ever done this? No, it's not creepy, spooky or even eerie. As you know, everyone is "dying to get in there". It's very interesting, if you love history.
My mother grew up in the country outside of a town called Palmerston. Mom had a cousin by the name of Ken Henderson who happened to be the mayor of this town and was also the funeral director. As kids growing up, Mom and Dad dragged us to everything, especially funerals.
A memory that I have is, one summer afternoon we attended the funeral service of one of Mom's relatives at the Palmerston Cemetery. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon walking along with Ken and basically had a "tour" of the grave sites of where my Mom's family is buried. Now keep in mind, Ken was quite the story teller or did he "weave webs". I'm not really sure but when you are just a kid, it doesn't matter and he was really good at the story telling. One thing about Ken is that he always stood with his hands clasped behind his back and he was never in a hurray about anything. Oh wait, yes there was one thing that he always made sure was right on time...funerals. Why? He had one thing on his mind at every funeral...the luncheon afterwards at the Palmerston United Church. Could these ladies put on a spread of food! And of course, the dessert trays!! The best assortment of squares you have ever seen especially date squares! Ken always remarked that a funeral wasn't the same without date squares. Perhaps attending all these post-funeral luncheons is where my sweet tooth got underway.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Quilt in the Works!



A perfect way to get away from the construction noise is to barricade one self to the studio for some serious sewing time! But also I have a deadline to make since this quilt is an upcoming class that I'm teaching at Taylor's here in Brockville. It's called "How Does your Garden Grow". To make a lap sized quilt, it uses a "jelly roll", but cut into strips and then sewn in a "braided" formation.
I'm almost done adding the sashing and then the outside borders need to go on next. Then the best part, off to be quilted by my friend Tammy Spencer. Perhaps I will get this sample done and delivered to the store a week before their Open House and not delivered the day before or the morning of. I'll post the final outcome or if you are local, drop into Taylor's. If you have a moment, check out their website www.taylorsewing.com and have a look at their fall classes and dates of their Open House. You just might see my completed quilt there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

At My Front Door Cont'd...













As a kid growing up on a farm there were always things to do to keep us busy for long periods of time. This would consist of chores in the barn, working in the fields, or helping out in the garden. Not very often were we left alone. Usually Mom or Dad were close by to supervise. However, once in a while Mom and Dad would venture into town to do a quick errand and would leave us alone with one of my older siblings left in charge. Now keep in mind, it's not that we were destructive children. No, we had other things on our minds. It usually consisted of my two brothers coming up with an idea to build/repair/take apart something or my older sisters would bake something in the kitchen that was perhaps a bit more complicated than the previous recipe that they tried. There were times that Mom and Dad would almost "cringe" with the thoughts of what they might find when they got home. Well, this certainly came to mind when I came home from work the other day. I was on the day shift and left the house at 5:30 a.m. and returned at 8:00 p.m. This is what I came home to!! The day before, the hole that was dug in front of my house was about "man size". Now it has grown to a size that would "ingest a dump truck" You can also tell from the other pic that my neighbours up the street received one as well. The good thing that absolutely no one would be able to drive down the street. Therefore no "summer traffic" which has been nice! It's Saturday morning and we have gotten a break from the construction noise which I give "thanks" to!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

At My Front Door

My plans were to avoid blogging any further about what was taking place on the street where I live. However, due to popular demands, questioning and curiosity by my regular readers, the sega will continue. This is what happened outside my front door today. Yep, the workers removed the front cement slab to locate the water line that runs into the house. Here is another "man eating hole" that they dug to gain access to the lines. Don't you just dig it??!!
This is the view from my front door. Notice how my plants are on the edge of destruction? I begged the construction workers to take pity on my innocent plants and avoid the brutality. They did!


But I have another story to tell. See the picture of the two cute little girls? While I was negotiating with the foreman over my flower bed and wanting to know precisely how far back they planned on digging, these two little girls came down the street amongst the construction. I noticed right away the workers getting their wallets out or rummaging through their pockets. These little girls started their own lemonade/ice tea delivery business. The workers placed their orders... 50 cents for a cold beverage or for $1 you got a beverage and a home baked chocolate chip cookie. (Of course, I had to get the scoop!!) They returned to their house or "head office" which was just around the corner, filled the order and returned to deliver their orders. They informed me that yesterday they made $23.00. Not bad for their first day in business and the weather was perfect for sales... hot and humid! Now that's impressive!! You go girls!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rainy Weekend Activity









Yesterday was a perfect day to be creative...in the rain. Not far from our cottage is Dawn King http://www.dawnkingrustic.ca/ who makes rustic cedar furniture and offers classes. It just so happened that this past weekend she was teaching an "arbour" class. I've made twig furniture before which sits in the front porch at the house. I've always loved the look arbours in gardens but appreciated the ones that were a bit different. I showed up Sunday morning at Dawn's place with my list of tools and went to work. It was a snap putting together since the frame work had already been precut by Dawn herself. The majority of the time was spent creating the sides and top by bending, drilling, nailing the cedar branches into a rustic theme. You can see the end results. I'm really pleased however, Neil has to go back next weekend to pick up my arbour with the trailer. It kind of reminds me of "science projects" that end up bigger than expected and you had to get your Mom to drive you and your project to school since it wouldn't fit on the bus. I remember those days all to well!!