February 29, 2008

Time Flies . . .

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I last posted. Sometimes it seems as if the world just goes faster and faster while I putter around my life. Here's what Rumi says about it, via Coleman Barks (page 194 of The Essential Rumi):

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

(photos by Gerry Carriou and can be found here http://www.canoenorthwestontario.ca/sscinclude/acloserlook.cfm/id/9101 )

I have again spent too much time away from my whizzy whacker (also known as a rotary cutter), my olfa mats, my old sewing machine and my new iron. This weekend I vow to:

1) Get half of the remainder of my dad's old quilt quilted; 2) start another project - maybe an embellished green man (I love greenmen); 3) get more work done on the disappearing 9 patch.

What projects will you work on?

February 17, 2008

Dad's Other Quilt

Well, here it is Sunday, already. Our re-elected provincial government, as their first act in office this term, instituted a day's holiday and named it "Family Day". It's the third Monday in February, which means, I DON'T WORK TOMORROW! YAY! I'm especially glad of it today as I kept thinking all day that it was Saturday - obviously, I need another day off to make it feel as if I've had a weekend.

I played with the arrangement of the disappearing 9 patch, but all of them just seemed, well, boring. I tried making a few squares with the red in the X position and peppering the arrangements with those, but it still wasn't good. So I decided to start adding some different fabrics and this is what I have so far:

And this is what I'm going to add next

The blue is an old fabric, loosing woven from back when I used to quilt, but the yellow and green are new premium quilting fabrics. I added the yellow because the blue has yellow flowers in it, although that may be hard do see, and I thought it might add a little pizzazz. I have no idea what it is going to be or what I'll do next with it, but it's more fun to do than just putting the patches together alone.

So, I received a box from my dad and inside were these

I like them. And this wonderful carving. My dad is a wood carver and I love his work. Many of his pieces have hints of his wonderful sense of humour and I just love having them around the house. On either side of the Santa, you can see bits of two of his other carvings.

I love the way he carved folds into the robe over Santa's feet. Behind the carving you can see two petite point pieces my grandmother did. I was so happy to get this and want to leave him out to enjoy before putting him away with the Christmas things - or maybe I don't have to put him away at all!

And here is the quilt.

And here's the back

It's a nice quilt and I look forward to completing it and giving it a wash then returning it to dad. Just like the red and white basket quilt I made him, this one was also made for the bed he had at the time - an antique single bed. Now however, he's sleeping on a double, so neither quilt fits properly. I briefly considering de-binding this one and adding some fabric to the sides, but I think that's only asking for problems.

Well, that's it for now. It's off to the dinner table, then maybe back to do a bit more on the 9 patch. Hope your weekend has been great.

Keep your foot on the dogs.

February 16, 2008


Jacquie, at Tallgrass Prairie Studios just tagged me! So, here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.
There are so many things about me that people would consider wierd. I don't consider them weird, but I know that many of my beliefs, actions, and experiences are not mainstream. Hmmm,
1. I ride my bike throughout the year, I've even partly ridden it during our recent snow storms (that was an adventure).
2. For a brief time, I made West African-style hand-drums, Ashikos, and sold them, bartered with them, and gave them away, along with facilitating beginner's hand-drum workshops. That was fun and I discovered that I love working with wood. This is one of my drums
As you can tell by the torn head, it doesn't get used. But, my daughter did use it in a workshop given by Babatunde Olatunji. This drum is a djembe, and it's what got me so interested and excited about handdrumming - it's a great drum.

This is the head-cover I thread painted and embellished for my djembe - not finished yet (there's a bee on the tongue)

This is my favourite cowboy hat that sits on the drum head cover, that I made for the djembe that got the whole drumming-thing started. And I'll leave this bit at that.

3. I have second level Reiki certification in Traditional Japanese Reiki, this is also a good link.

4. I have studied and helped teach women's self-defence; I started university when I was 39 (earned an Honours Specialist degree in Philosophy 4 years later). I also have a TESL certificates (teaching English as a second language) and taught English to adults for 7 years. I like teaching (and learning).

5. I'm vegetarian and have been for almost 23 years. I like being vegetarian. I'm now leaning toward going all the way and becoming vegan - no animal products at all (except I'll eat honey) - no flesh, no dairy products, no eggs. But we'll see. I began being vegie for both humane and health reasons, but my reasons have grown to include care for the environment (the meat industry is quite hard on the environment), plus I now link a piece of meat with the body of a once-living creature. For example, I don't think, that's a chicken breast bought in a store (which I realize is more perhaps of an urban or even small town mentality as I'm sure hunters and fishers don't think along those lines); I think, that's muscle from the chest of a little chicken that used to eat, and breathe, and lay eggs. It just seems too bizarre to me to even consider eating it when there are so many other things out there that are tasty and fulfill my nutritional requirements.

6. I love plants. I love everything about them and try to grow as many as possible in our small apartment, and believe me, that's not easy. I currently have two orchids,
4 brugmansia (1 mommy plant and three of her babies created from cuttings),

a huge catus that is maybe a torch cactus (Cereus peruvianus)

a Guatemalian Ponytail Palm (beaucarnia guatemalensis)

two Arrowhead plants (Syngonium podophyllum) taken by cuttings from my dad's plant

and this poor little thing

I have no idea what it is, but it's obviously not doing well. This was a cutting from a plant at my parent's place, and their plant was a lovely, full plant with redish/green, velvety leaves, but here mine is just struggling not to die. I have to repot the dear and find out what conditions it likes. If you know what it is, please let me know.

7. As you can see from the background of a couple of the above pictures, I love books. We have literally tonnes of books (okay, maybe not tonnes, but we have LOTS). I have books on plants (of course), Western philosophy - from the Ancient Greeks to one book by a present-day Canadian philosopher, Mark Kingwell, ethics, science, novels and short stories, a few on art and pottery, many on quilting (of course), Rumi, philosophy of religion, and much, much more. My partner has even more books than I do, so we're ever so glad of having strong floor joists.

And now to tag 7 people. Please check out these amazing people:

As for me, it's time to go make some breakfast and get started on this amazingly, beautiful day. My dad's quilt came in the mail on Thursday so as soon as I get some good pictures of it, I'll put them up. He also sent me a couple of surprises!

Keep your foot on the dogs!

February 10, 2008

I was looking at Jacquie's blog the other day and came across the Disappearing Nine Patch and thought, 'hey, that looks pretty cool', so thought I'd do a few test pieces. I checked out the tutorial at this site and thought it looked really easy and had interesting results.

So, I looked through my stash and thought, 'what fabric would I not mind cutting up and making mistakes so that I'd have to just throw it out' - I often think like that, so I sometimes get stuck in deciding which fabrics are disposable and what project to make. For example, sure I can do the disappearing nine patch, but then what? What do I make? No babies around, so not a baby quilt, I have too many cat quilts, don't really want a bed-sized quilt in this pattern ... I sometimes get stuck thinking that everything I make should be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. I decided this time to not get too sidetracked by that and just picked up the red I had used in one of the cats quilts

Then I had to decide what to put with it. It is a cheaper fabric somewhat loosely woven, one I think I inherited from my mom's stash. I found another one of my mom's fabrics that I really like:

But it's a higher-quality fabric - more tightly woven - and therefore would last longer than the red in whatever it is that I'm making. So I kept looking and found another fabric from my mom:

This seemed to be a good one - same weight as the red and same looseness of weaving. So that's what I went with.

I cut 2 1/5" strips of both the red and the other fabric, then sewed two strips together and added the opposite strip on the other side - for example, I sewed a pink/green/blue strip to a red strip then sewed another pink/green/blue strip onto the other side of the red. Then I did the opposite - sewing a pink/green/blue and a red strip together then sewed another red strip onto the other side of the pink/green/blue strip. I ironed out all the seams and cut the pieces into rectangles:

I layed out the red/pink/red and pink/red/pink rectangles on the cutting mat beside the sewing machine and began sewing them together - much more fun than cutting, in my opinion. Then my cat Lenny (remember his picture in an earlier post?) came in from outside, where it is very cold, and jumped up onto the cutting mat, his long, thin tail laying on top of the pink/red/pink rectangles. He lounged around waiting for me to pay attention, but I kept sewing. He's been very annoying of late, waking us up 3-4 times a night anywhere between 2 and 5:30 a.m. every morning! I've really wanted to give him a good shaking at times. Of course I never have. In Nietzche's book, "On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life", he talks about animals remaining in the present, how they are "enthralled by the moment and for that reason [are] neither melancholy nor bored." He goes on to say that this is exactly the type of life humans want but we are incapable of having such a life because we have memory and therefore history, whereas animals don't. And if a human asked an animal why it didn't talk to her about its contentedness instead of just staring at her, the animal would want to explain about happiness, but it couldn't because not only does it immediately forget what it was going to say, it also immediately forgets the topic of conversation. That's what I think happens to Lenny - he forgets that I want him to be quiet immediately after I 'shush' him. So he was laying there being himself, and I began to notice a particular smell that is associated with male cats even if they've been neutered, which he has. He sat up and began cleaning himself, paying particular attention to his tail. Lenny has a looong tail that very cutely sort of curls at the end. It's somewhat endearing, however, it has sometimes posed a cleanliness hazard, and that was the situation tonight. I shooed him off the table and picked up one of the rectangles his tail had been on and sure enough there it was: the unmistakable smell of cat pee. Lenny will sometimes pee standing up - spraying, it's called - equally marking his space as relieving himself, and sometimes when he does this, he sprays the tip of his tail that is hanging over. Yuck. He did that tonight then put his dirty tail on a couple pieces of my fabric and on my cutting board. I put those fabric pieces in the garbage, wiped down the cutting board and cleaned his dirty tail. Until recently I had a "no-cat-on-the-sewing-table" policy, but I thought since they don't really bother me too much just sitting or sleeping on the table, why not let them on? Well, here's one REALLY good reason to not let Lenny on.

Here he is, already forgotten what he's done - just stretching his little paw out for me to touch.

After that interlude I returned to the 9 patch. I sewed the rectangles together and made several blocks, then ironed them out. Notice the problem? Have a look at the tutorial again.

I noticed it right away, and laughed and laughed. I must have some sort of patch/block dyslexia as I do this quite often - reversing the position of patches/blocks. Oh well, I thought, what the hell. I then cut them into quarters and

began arranging them in various layouts. What do you think?
It was good to get something done today, finally. It seems as if it's been a long time since I've been in the sewing room. Hope you all are getting into your sewing rooms as often as you'd like. Until next time, keep your foot on the dogs.

February 6, 2008


Well that weekend didn't turn out as I had expected! After slogging up to work throught the snow and slush on my bike, I found my co-worker there doing my job! What's up, I asked. She thought it was her turn to work Saturday, and since she was all ready settled in she said she might as well stay. Whoopee! So I jumped back on the faithful Fuji pony and headed back home, making a stop at Cobbs bakery for a couple of their delicious vegan blueberry danishes. Woke up my partner - shook him out of bed - and make some delicious hot tea to have with the danishes. Got a lot of laundry done and other various household chores, began making a tea cozy, then I crashed. We watched tv all night and I couldn't be prised off the couch on Sunday. Sometimes I need to do next to absolutely nothing - just lie on the couch or bed, snooze, dream, read, watch tv, and that's it. Sunday was just such a day. It was good and refreshing.
Monday I visited Kathy's Quilts again and saw the link to One World One Heart and thought what a lovely idea! I don't know that at this late date I can join in but I recommend checking it out and visiting some of the participating sites. Most seem to be from women who make collages of some sort, which are nice, but not my cup of tea.
I have just about finished the simple tea cozy I made, but I'm thinking of adding some embellishments to it. I'll post a pictures when I'm finished.
Years ago when I used to quilt, I made a quilt for my dad. He seems to have been the only recipient of the quilts I've made. I had safety-pin basted it and was quilting it by hand. After working on it for some time, I thought I should probably give it to him unfinished so he could use it, and whenever I went to visit, which at that time was every month, I would work on it a bit until it was completed. That didn't happen. He and I lost track of the quilt but this past May when he moved house, he found it again carefully folded inside a pillowcase and stuffed at the back of his linen closet. I've been asking him ever since to send it to me so I can finally finish the thing - even threatened to mail him an empty box to send it in. Last night he said that he'd gotten it packed up and would send it soon. I'll post a picture as soon as it arrives. I remember it as a nice looking quilt, but we'll see.
Until then,
keep your foot on the dogs.

February 2, 2008

Good Morning!

Good morning, everyone! Are you ready for a great day? I'm off to work shortly, boo, but I finally got to bed very early, 8:30, so I could wake up well at 5:30 (or 4:30 - 5 if the damn cat goes off before the alarm) and not be tired and cranky all day, yay!
I just stumbled upon another great blog Kathy's Quilts and encourage you to check it out. She has a marvellous mystery quilt on there that I think is quite cool. In one picture you can really see vertical lines (and diagonal lines) she has created by colour/value placement, although I'm not sure if it was intentional. It reminds me of wall paper my parents may have had in the early 60's - green and brown rectangles placed horizontally and connected vertically by curved lines. I love it! (can't find a picture of the wallpaper).
So this is another pattern I'd like to explore. Plus, I want to get started on Sindy Rodenmayer's BOM as I LOVE the blocks. Unfortunately, today is mostly a working day, and tomorrow I'm supposed to attend a meeting for a couple of hours. I may not go. I'm really itching to get quilting!
Whatever you do today, I hope you have a great day!
Keep your foot on the dogs!